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Originally published in 1995, this is a biography of William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), which charts the political career and personal life of the only person who saw four terms as the British Prime Minister and who left behind a long and successful line of legislation. Roy Jenkins examines the manifold activities of Gladstone's life and uses it to relate the political rhythms, travel patterns and religious assumptions of Victorian England to the modern day.
Roy Jenkins was the author of many books, including Churchill and Gladstone, which won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. Active in British politics for half a century, he entered the House of Commons in 1948 and subsequently served as Minister of Aviation, Home Secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer; he was also the President of the European Commission and Chancellor of Oxford University. In 1987 he took his seat in the House of Lords. He died in January 2003.