Volume One of Angus Hawkins’s magisterial biography of the 14th Earl of Derby ended just as his subject was about to become Prime Minister. Volume Two traces the events of the next eighteen years, in which Derby would hold the highest political office three times. On each occasion he would lead minority administrations. On each occasion, his survival depended on Whigs, Liberals, Radicals, Irish and Peelites disliking one another more than they suspected him. He would never know the comforting cushion of a large majority.