The Man Who Never Glared

John Pemble

  • BuyDisraeli: or, The Two Lives by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young
    Orion, 320 pp, £20.00, July 2013, ISBN 978 0 297 86097 6
  • BuyThe Great Rivalry: Gladstone and Disraeli by Dick Leonard
    I.B. Tauris, 226 pp, £22.50, June 2013, ISBN 978 1 84885 925 8
  • BuyDisraeli: The Romance of Politics by Robert O’Kell
    Toronto, 595 pp, £66.99, February 2013, ISBN 978 1 4426 4459 5

‘All actors want to play Disraeli, except fat ones,’ the American filmmaker Nunnally Johnson said. ‘It’s such a showy part – half Satan, half Don Juan, man of so many talents, he could write novels, flatter a queen, dig the Suez Canal. Present her with India. You can’t beat that, it’s better than Wyatt Earp.’ And it’s as good as Lord Byron. Take the life of Disraeli, for ‘novelist’ read ‘poet’, and you’ve got an epic about what happened to Byron after he’d recovered from that deadly fever at Missolonghi.

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