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John Bew

6 Reviews

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Biography: historical, political & military, Prose: non-fiction, British & Irish history, Napoleonic Wars

A magisterial re-evaluation of Britain's greatest ever foreign secretary.

The best political biography of the year' Jonathan Sumption, Spectator
'Wonderful . . . A Life so nearly complete it need never be written again' Ferdinand Mount, Times Literary Supplement
By the author of the Orwell Prize-winning Citizen Clem

Damned in coruscating verse by Shelley and Byron, his coffin hissed at during his funeral, Lord Castlereagh has one of the blackest reputations in British history. But as John Bew shows, this is but a half-drawn portrait. His gripping biography reveals a shy, inarticulate but passionate man; a towering political figure of implacable principles who redrew the map of Europe, fought a duel with a cabinet colleague and would tragically take his own life amid rumours of scandal and madness.

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Praise for Castlereagh

  • John Bew has some heavy lifting to do in this consciously revisionist take. It is a great testament to his skills as a scholar and writer that he manages to do so with such aplomb . . . stellar - Daily Telegraph

  • Wonderful . . . Bew's book is not only unparalleled in its size and sweep; it is also drenched in the Irish dimension, enriched by the author's own Ulster heritage, as well as the sagacity, scholarship and charm that make this a Life so nearly complete that it need never be written again - Times Literary Supplement

  • In a magisterial political portrait Bew brings Castlereagh and his world sharply back to life, and reassesses one of Britain's great forgotten statesmen - Daily Telegraph

  • In this well-researched and judicious book, John Bew successfully readjusts the picture . . . this excellent biography tells a cautionary tale - Literary Review

  • This new biography by John Bew is a wonderful book, in its scope, its scholarship and the magisterial sweep of the narrative - Irish Independent

  • The most brilliant and wise political biography I have read in a long while - Wall St Journal

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John Bew

John Bew teaches History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King's College London. He was the winner of the 2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding achievement in Politics and International Studies and previously held the Henry Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. John is a contributing writer at the New Statesman and the author of five books, including the critically-acclaimed Realpolitik: A History and Castlereagh. He was born in Belfast, educated at Cambridge, and lives in Wimbledon, London.

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