"A Superb New Biography . . . A Tragic Story, Brilliantly Told." --Andrew Roberts, "Literary Review" George Nathaniel Curzon's controversial life in public service stretched from the high noon of his country's empire to the traumatized years following World War I. As viceroy of India under Queen Victoria and foreign secretary under King George V, ...
"A Superb New Biography . . . A Tragic Story, Brilliantly Told." --Andrew Roberts, "Literary Review" George Nathaniel Curzon's controversial life in public service stretched from the high noon of his country's empire to the traumatized years following World War I. As viceroy of India under Queen Victoria and foreign secretary under King George V, the obsessive Lord Curzon left his unmistakable mark on the era. David Gilmour's award-winning book--with a new foreword by the author--is a brilliant assessment of Curzon's character and achievements, offering a richly dramatic account of the infamous long vendettas, the turbulent friendships, and the passionate, risky love affairs that complicated and enriched his life. Born into the ruling class of what was then the world's greatest power, Curzon was a fervent believer in British imperialism who spent his life proving he was fit for the task. Often seen as arrogant and tempestuous, he was loathed as much as he was adored, his work disparaged as much as it was admired. In Gilmour's well-rounded appraisal, Curzon emerges as a complex, tragic figure, a gifted leader who saw his imperial world overshadowed at the dawn of democracy.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-04-28 Gilmour-who learned much about Lord Curzon from writing a recent biography of Curzon's cousin, Rudyard Kipling-has produced an absorbing life, 200 pages longer than Kenneth Rose's stylish but misshapen Superior Person. Curzon had a distinguished career as viceroy of India, Edwardian politician and post-WWI foreign minister. Born in 1859, George Curzon was the ambitious eldest of a blue-blooded but unambitious brood of 11. His impatience, intolerance and arrogance were exacerbated by the stress of wearing a steel brace for a painful curvature of the spine. Still, he set himself a tremendous pace, from ascending perilous peaks in central Asia to climbing the risky political and social ladders. He also bedded a plethora of eager society ladies. To their dismay, in his mid-30s he married the daughter of a Chicago millionaire, then took her to India. When the unselfishly devoted Mary Leiter Curzon died 11 years later, in 1906, he had no intention of remarrying, yet at 58, he succumbed to the voluptuous widow Grace Duggan, a socialite 19 years younger. By then, Curzon was on the verge of his major achievements. As foreign minister, his legacy became the remaking of national borders in the east, most crucially enabling Turkey to emerge as a modern state. Disappointed at not succeeding as prime minister, he left office in 1924 and died a year later. Though Gilmour fails to make the association, readers will savor the striking parallels with another ambitious, libidinous politician who lived with pain yet made it to the top-an American surnamed Kennedy. 24 b&w illus., 3 maps. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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