Eminent Elizabethans by Piers Brendon - review by Donald Trelford

Donald Trelford

All the Queen’s Men

Eminent Elizabethans


Jonathan Cape 304pp £17.99

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

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