The founder of the modern British Conservative party has been described as an adventurer, a charlatan, a clever rogue and a perspicacious politician. These different characterizations have all had their ardent supporters as Benjamin Disraeli rarely inspired indifference from his contemporaries or later commentators.
This new lively study sheds light on Disraeli's controversial life and ambiguous political legacy, providing a portrait of one of the great personalities of the age and the leader of the key political movement of Victorian Britain.
Before becoming Prime Minister in 1874, Disraeli was an exotic, dandified figure. He was a novelist who escaped his creditors, and launched a political career, with his election to a seat in the House of Commons. He showed in his political life a writer's command of the potent image and pregnant phrase. A one-of-a-kind figure in Westminster politics, he was a favorite of monarchs but distrusted or disliked by most of the members of his own party. However, his speeches and writings remain memorable and influential and he has become an iconic figure to a diverse group of modern-day conservatives.