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William Pitt the Younger (2004)

de William Hague

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The award-winning biography of William Pitt the Younger by William Hague, the youngest leader of the Tory Party since Pitt himself. William Pitt the Younger was one of the most extraordinary figures in British history. Prime minister at the age of twenty-four, he went on to dominate British politics for two decades, presiding over such complex and treacherous national crises as the madness of King George III, the beleaguered union with Ireland, the fallout from the French Revolution and the trauma of the Napoleonic Wars. With the keen eye of an experienced politician, William Hague examines the enigmatic life and tumultuous times of a man capable of both wit and arrogance, economic genius and financial mismanagement. A rich cast of characters and a vivid backdrop of global conflict make this riveting biography of Pitt the Younger compulsive reading.… (més)

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An absolutely superb biography of William Pitt the Younger by William Hague, a man who at the age of twenty-two was Chancellor of the Exchequer and by the age of 24 was Prime Minister for 18 of the next 22 years until his death, caused by a combination of over-work and over-drinking. A tumultuous time in British history with the madness of King George III and the subsequent regency crisis, and the French Revolution leading to the Napoleanoic wars. Hague is always sympathetic to this cold, aloof, very talented character who's singled mindnesses we would probably think as autistic in modern times. A man who had no romantic ties but devoted his life to service to the country. A great read. ( )
  mick745 | Apr 8, 2020 |
A very thorough biography of a British statesman who left a mark on British politics. William Pitt the Younger followed in the footsteps of his father (William Pitt the Elder) and did so a young age, being only 21 when he became a Member of Parliament. Within a few short years he was the principle figure in the government, a position he would hold (with only a few brief exceptions) until his death in 1806. He formed a working relationship with King George III, pursued a number of reforms (some more successful than others), and was at the helm of navigating Britain through the early years of the Napoleonic Wars. This man lived an interesting and influence life and this biography does a good job telling the story of his life and placing it in the context it deserves. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Dec 23, 2018 |
I read William Hague's biography of William Wilberforce which I found gripping, well researched and to constantly provoke me to self examination. By comparison this felt like much harder work and took a lot more getting into. However, it is again well researched and well written. It affords great insight into our political history and the early implementation of income tax and economics driven political leadership. Pitt the younger was an amazing man, just not as inspiring or rounded as Wilberforce. At no stage did I think, "I wish I was more like him." So for political history this is good, but for personal inspiration and a challenge to what a Christian faith lived out looks like, stick with Wilberforce. ( )
  mckaori | Jan 22, 2018 |
Hard to praise this too highly. Puts Hague up there with the great politician/ writers such as Jenkins, Churchill, Buchan. Full of fascinating detail about Cabinet wrangles, Parliamentary procedure, the Irish problem, King George's madness, the Prince of Wales's profligacy, complex diplomacy and more; a page-turner. And this despite his subject, Pitt, being a cold fish to say the least, a man of unfulfilled promise despite his record length of service. Pitt seems to have been a phenomenon of cool brain, determination and political skill with exceptional talents as a manager of the nation's finances (though not his own!). But he was a Spock-like blank, with no sex life, and few human feelings other than a fondness for the bottle. We are told of his mastery of the House of Commons, borne of early training by his father, but the speeches fail to come across on the page; no phrases reverberate; both speeches and letters seem verbose, plodding and artificial. Several of his contemporaries make much livelier copy (Burke, Sheridan, Fox, even Wellington).
Cometh the hour, cometh the man? There are parallels with Churchill. Pitt held his own against the overwhelming land victories of a dictator, when his colleagues and opponents might well have sold out (as they did briefly at the Peace of Amiens). Pitt was perhaps really a peacetime leader who found himself fighting one of the most desperate wars in history. He managed to hold the line, funding the Navy, protecting the pound, but was himself destroyed by the struggle. The last chapters of the book have the quality of tragedy. ( )
  vguy | Mar 9, 2016 |
4919. William Pitt the Younger, by William Hague (read 6 May 2012) This is an exceptionally great biography, telling of a most interesting and important figure in English history. Pitt attained what was the leading position (the equivalent of Prime Minister) at the age of 24 and continued in that role till 1801, dealing with stupendously difficult and challenging issues, including the madness of King George III, the issues arising from the French Revolution, the union of Ireland and England in 1800, and the rise of Napoleon. I can honestly say there is not a dull page in the book, and anyone interested in the momentous years that Pitt dominated the scene in Britain will be spellbound by the book. ( )
1 vota Schmerguls | May 6, 2012 |
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The award-winning biography of William Pitt the Younger by William Hague, the youngest leader of the Tory Party since Pitt himself. William Pitt the Younger was one of the most extraordinary figures in British history. Prime minister at the age of twenty-four, he went on to dominate British politics for two decades, presiding over such complex and treacherous national crises as the madness of King George III, the beleaguered union with Ireland, the fallout from the French Revolution and the trauma of the Napoleonic Wars. With the keen eye of an experienced politician, William Hague examines the enigmatic life and tumultuous times of a man capable of both wit and arrogance, economic genius and financial mismanagement. A rich cast of characters and a vivid backdrop of global conflict make this riveting biography of Pitt the Younger compulsive reading.

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