Groundbreaking in its approach, this is the definitive biography of William Pitt the Elder—a brilliant, yet tragic, British statesman Weaving together military history and political biography, Edward Pearce provides a portrait of Britain's leader during the Seven Years' War. Alongside detailed descriptions of battles in Europe and North America, we follow Pitt's career as a politician—one that was closely intertwined with General James Wolfe at Quebec; American independence; and, the slow mind of George III and the quick one of the rake and outsider John Wilkes. Posterity has invested Pitt with a mystique and presented him as heroic, a titan, a brilliant statesman, and military strategist. This book scrutinizes the reputation and investigates the extent to which Britain's victories and imperial advances can be credited to Pitt alone or to a coalition of commanders, naval administrators, and foreign allies. Pitt the man is also revealed—vain, ruthless, tortured with physical illness, succumbing to mental collapse. This is a masterful portrait of arguably the most powerful minister ever to guide Britain's foreign policy and of an age that marked a new epoch in history, when the balance of power in Europe and the world was set for almost two centuries.
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Edward Pearce is a political journalist and author. He has written for the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Sunday Times, and he writes regularly for the Yorkshire Post. His books include The Diaries of Charles Greville and The Great Man: Sir Robert Walpole.Review:
"Superb. . . . The special delight of this book is Edward Pearce's gift of shuttling between the historic and the near present. . . . one to savor." —Contemporary Review
"Edward Pearce's years as a parliamentary correspondent and sketchwriter serve him well here and his accounts of the political intrigue, backbiting and manipulations are fascinating." —Tribune magazine
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