Eminent Elizabethans by Piers Brendon - review by Donald Trelford

Donald Trelford

All the Queen’s Men

Eminent Elizabethans

By

Jonathan Cape 304pp £17.99 order from our bookshop
 

In the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year this book’s title sounds opportunistic, but Piers Brendon could reasonably point out that it is a sequel to a book he wrote three decades ago called Eminent Edwardians, which deliberately echoed Lytton Strachey’s classic work, Eminent Victorians. The aim of all three books, he says, is ‘to unlock’ the age through ‘vignettes’ of four key figures of the period.

Strachey’s subjects – targets might be a better word – were Florence Nightingale, Cardinal Manning, Thomas Arnold and General Gordon. Brendon’s choice of Edwardians was Lord Northcliffe, Arthur Balfour, Mrs Pankhurst and General Baden-Powell. His chosen Elizabethans are Rupert Murdoch, Prince Charles, Margaret Thatcher and Mick Jagger, each portrait running

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter