Although wielding huge influence in late Victorian and Edwardian political life, Reginald Baliol Brett (1852 _ 1930), the second Lord Esher was, an enigma to his contemporaries and still remains a puzzle to historians.??At the heart of British and Imperial political affairs for several decades, Esher sat in both Houses of Parliament, was a high ranking civil servant, friend and confidential advisor to three Sovereigns and four Prime Ministers (of differing political hues) and yet refused high office offered by both Liberals and Conservatives. Yet his behind-the-scenes influence through his range of friends in high places gave him unmatched, some thought undemocratic, power. Despite his lack of military service he was instrumental through his work on the Committee for Imperial Defence (CID) and its Secretarial for the wholesale reorganisation of the Armed Forces. It could be said that Esher, with his grasp of power without responsibility, was a unique phenomenon in British history.??The Author, while compiling this fascinating study, drew on Cabinet and CID files, the Royal Archives and the papers of the Esher, Balfour, Asquith and Lloyd George estates. The result is a brilliant readable yet scholarly addition to British political bibliography.
An infantryman’s honest account of his experiences during the controversial Vietnam War, this book chronicles the courage and dedication that the American soldiers demonstrated while away from loved ones, in a foreign land where hanging by a thread was the norm every day. It openly discusses the challenges and sacrifices each man had to make in order to survive and protect the lives of his comrades, and it casts a light on the shortcomings of the US government and of those in authority who could have abated the terrifying number of casualties through proper planning and sound judgment. The author, Brian Richard Esher, had witnessed firsthand the horrors of the war and had many close encounters with death. He was sent to Vietnam in 1968, the worst year in terms of casualties. He served with the 25th Infantry Division, 4th Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Mechanized, and received several medals, including the second-highest military award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross
This addition to the Britain in Old Photographs series brings together a collection of black-and-white pictures spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Drawn from family albums, local collections and professional photographers, they show the way things were and how they have changed.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE BOSTON GLOBE This richly entertaining biography chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victoria’s firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into as wise and effective a monarch as Britain has ever seen. Granted unprecedented access to the royal archives, noted scholar Jane Ridley draws on numerous primary sources to paint a vivid portrait of the man and the age to which he gave his name. Born Prince Albert Edward, and known to familiars as “Bertie,” the future King Edward VII had a well-earned reputation for debauchery. A notorious gambler, glutton, and womanizer, he preferred the company of wastrels and courtesans to the dreary life of the Victorian court. His own mother considered him a lazy halfwit, temperamentally unfit to succeed her. When he ascended to the throne in 1901, at age fifty-nine, expectations were low. Yet by the time he died nine years later, he had proven himself a deft diplomat, hardworking head of state, and the architect of Britain’s modern constitutional monarchy. Jane Ridley’s colorful biography rescues the man once derided as “Edward the Caresser” from the clutches of his historical detractors. Excerpts from letters and diaries shed new light on Bertie’s long power struggle with Queen Victoria, illuminating one of the most emotionally fraught mother-son relationships in history. Considerable attention is paid to King Edward’s campaign of personal diplomacy abroad and his valiant efforts to reform the political system at home. Separating truth from legend, Ridley also explores Bertie’s relationships with the women in his life. Their ranks comprised his wife, the stunning Danish princess Alexandra, along with some of the great beauties of the era: the actress Lillie Langtry, longtime “royal mistress” Alice Keppel (the great-grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles), and Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston. Edward VII waited nearly six decades for his chance to rule, then did so with considerable panache and aplomb. A magnificent life of an unexpectedly impressive king, The Heir Apparent documents the remarkable transformation of a man—and a monarchy—at the dawn of a new century. Praise for The Heir Apparent “If [The Heir Apparent] isn’t the definitive life story of this fascinating figure of British history, then nothing ever will be.”—The Christian Science Monitor “The Heir Apparent is smart, it’s fascinating, it’s sometimes funny, it’s well-documented and it reads like a novel, with Bertie so vivid he nearly leaps from the page, cigars and all.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “I closed The Heir Apparent with admiration and a kind of wry exhilaration.”—The Wall Street Journal “Ridley is a serious scholar and historian, who keeps Bertie’s flaws and virtues in a fine balance.”—The Boston Globe “Brilliantly entertaining . . . a landmark royal biography.”—The Sunday Telegraph “Superb.”—The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.
Deep History and the Tory Theme in British Foreign Policy, 1679-2014
Author: Jeremy Black
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Political decisions are never taken in a vacuum but are shaped both by current events and historical context. In other words, long-term developments and patterns in which the accumulated memory of what came earlier, can greatly (and sometimes subconsciously) influence subsequent policy choices. Working forward from the later seventeenth century, this book explores the ‘deep history’ of the changing and competing understandings within the Tory party of the role Britain has aspired to play on a world stage. Conservatism has long been one of the major British political tendencies, committed to the defence of established institutions, with a strong sense of the ‘national interest’, and embracing both ‘liberal’ and ‘authoritarian’ views of empire. The Tory party has, moreover, at several times been deeply divided, if not convulsed, by different perspectives on Britain’s international orientation and different positions on foreign and imperial policy. Underlying Tory beliefs upon which views of Britain’s global role were built were often not stated but assumed. As a result they tend to be obscured from historical view. This book seeks to recover and reconsider those beliefs, and to understand how the Tory party has sought to navigate its way through the difficult pathways of foreign and imperial politics, and why this determination outlasted Britain’s rapid decolonisation and was apparently remarkably little affected by it. With a supporting cast from Pitt to Disraeli, Churchill to Thatcher, the book provides a fascinating insight into the influence of history over politics. Moreover it argues that there has been an inherent politicisation of the concept of national interests, such that strategic culture and foreign policy cannot be understood other than in terms of a historically distorted political debate.
‘ Well written and persuasive … objective and well-rounded… .this scholarly rehabilitation should be the standard biography’ **** Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday ‘ A true judgment of him must lie somewhere between hero and zero, and in this detailed biography Gary Sheffield shows himself well qualified to make it … a balanced portrait’ Sunday Times ‘ Solid scholarship and admirable advocacy’ Sunday Telegraph Douglas Haig is the single most controversial general in British history. In 1918, after his armies had won the First World War, he was feted as a saviour. But within twenty years his reputation was in ruins, and it has never recovered. In this fascinating biography, Professor Gary Sheffield reassesses Haig’ s reputation, assessing his critical role in preparing the army for war.
How Two Gentlemen Edited a Queen and Created an Icon
Author: Yvonne M. Ward
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
In 1901, two literary gentlemen were appointed a novel task: to preserve the memory of Queen Victoria in her own words. By the time they were finished, 460 volumes of the Queen’s correspondence had become just three; their decisions — and distortions — would influence perceptions of Victoria for generations to come. The editors chosen for the task were deeply eccentric and complicated men. Baron Esher was the consummate royal confidant who hid his obsession with Eton boys and incestuous relationship with his youngest son behind a persona of charm and discretion. Arthur Benson, an ex-Etonian master and closeted homosexual, struggled to fit in with the blue-blooded clubs and codes of the court while fighting bouts of severe depression. Together with King Edward VII they would decide how Victoria was to be remembered — avoiding scandal, protecting the new king, promoting their own preconceptions about Victoria and her court, obscuring her role as a mother, and propping up the politics of the day. Based on unprecedented access to the original archives, this is a fascinating piece of historical detective work.
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge is one of the longer stories featuring Sherlock Holmes written by Arthur Conan Doyle. This tale is noted for its introduction of Inspector Baynes, a member of the police force who can in some ways match Holmes's investigative prowess. It is different from most of the other stories because Holmes doesn't actually solve the crime. Instead he follows along as Baynes works the case. Sherlock is indeed charming in this tale, but he is in many ways showed up by the other detective. The story line is solid premise for sure, but if you're just getting into the Holmes series, this shouldn't be your first stop. The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge is more for seasoned Holmes fans who've burnt through all the other stories, and still want more. If this is you, dig in!