Disraeli: The Novel Politician by David Cesarani - review by Jonathan Romain

Jonathan Romain

One Nation, Dual Identity

Disraeli: The Novel Politician


Yale University Press 292pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

What is it about Disraeli that continues to fascinate over a century after his death in 1881? Was it his extraordinary journey from dandy novelist to European statesman? Was it the fact that someone born a commoner and a non-Christian should eventually lead the Conservative Party, bastion of nobility and the Church? Perhaps it was the remarkable ability he needed to achieve such a leap. Or perhaps his unlikely ascent to the office of prime minister reflects the changing social climate of 19th-century Britain.

It may also be that, though it was not realised at the time, he was a political prototype in a variety of respects. His brand of ‘One Nation’ conservatism is a concept still invoked by today’s Conservative prime minister. He also paved the way for Jews as party leaders. Had

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