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A History of British Prime Ministers


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VOLUME ONE: British Prime Ministers from Walpole to Salisbury: The 18th and 19th Centuries Introduction: The Road to the Prime Ministership PART I: The 18th Century 1. Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford: "All these men have their price" 2. Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington: "George II's favourite nonentity" 3. Henry Pelham: Pragmatic heir to Walpole 4. Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle: Mighty Panjamdrum, feeble Premier 5. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire: "I have no motive but the King's service" 6. John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute: The King's "dearest friend" 7. George Grenville: Able Premier, undermined by his own prolixity 8. Charles Wentworth-Watson, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham: The conscience of the Whigs 9. William Pitt, the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham: "I am sure that I can save this country, and that nobody else can" 10. Augustus Henry Fitzroy, 3rd Duke of Grafton: Well-intentioned dilettante 11. Frederick North, styled Lord North: Outstanding parliamentarian, pity about the colonies... 12. William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne: Intellectual in Politics 13. William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland: Twice a figurehead 14. William Pitt, the Younger: Reformer Turned Reactionary? PART II: The 19th Century 15. Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth: Better than his Reputation? 16. William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville: Not Quite 'All the Talents' 17. Spencer Perceval: Struck Down in his Prime 18. Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool: Keeping the Show on the Road 19. George Canning: In the Footsteps of Pitt 20. Frederick John Robinson, Viscount Goderich, 1st Earl of Ripon: Inadequate Stopgap 21. Arthur Wesley (Wellesley), 1st Duke of Wellington: Military Hero, Political Misfit? 22. Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey: In the Footsteps of Fox 23. William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne: Mentor to a Young Monarch 24. Sir Robert Peel: Arch Pragmatist or Tory Traitor? 25. Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell: From Whig to Liberal 26. Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby: 'The Brilliant Chief, Irregularly Great' 27. George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen: Failure or Scapegoat? 28. Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston: Master Diplomat or Playground Bully? 29. Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield: Climbing 'the Greasy Pole' 30. William Ewart Gladstone: From 'Stern Unbending Tory' to 'The People's William' 31. Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury: Skilful Opponent of Reform 32. Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery: Seeking 'the Palm without the Dust' VOLUME TWO: Modern British Prime Ministers from Balfour to Johnson Introduction 1. Arthur Balfour: Bob's your Uncle 2. Henry Campbell-Bannerman: "a good, honest Scotchman" 3. H. H. Asquith: Not quite in the Gladstone mould 4. David Lloyd George: "a dynamic force" 5. Andrew Bonar Law: Tory Puritan 6. Stanley Baldwin: "a man of the most utter insignificance"? 7. Ramsay MacDonald: An 'aristocrat' among plain men? 8. Neville Chamberlain: A family affair 9. Winston Churchill: His Finest Hour 10. Clement Attlee: Quiet Revolutionary 11. Anthony Eden: Self-destruction of a Prince Charming 12. Harold Macmillan: Idealist into Manipulator 13. Alec Douglas-Home: Right man, wrong Century? 14. Harold Wilson: Master - or victim - of the short term 15. Edward Heath: Cheerleader for Europe 16. James Callaghan: Labour's conservative 17. Margaret Thatcher: Grocer's daughter to Iron Lady 18. John Major: "Thatcherism with a human face" 19. Tony Blair: Fallen idol 20. Gordon Brown: Dominant Chancellor, uncertain Premier 21. David Cameron: The accidental architect of Brexit 22. Theresa May: "a bloody difficult woman"? 23. Boris Johnson: Statesman or Buffoon?

About the Author

Dick Leonard is a journalist, author and former Labour MP. He was Assistant Editor of The Economist for 12 years, and has also worked for The Observer, the BBC, the Fabian Society, the Centre for European Policy Studies and the Publishers Association.

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