'There was', Gladstone declared in 1895, 'no life which required so much to be written as that of Disraeli.' Benjamin Disraeli was born in London in 1804, the grandson of an Italian Jew. In this fresh account of his life, Paul Smith looks at Disraeli's unique character as a fuse of Jewishness and Anglicanism, outsider and insider, nationalist and European, Romantic and Tory; and shows how this formed his 'appeal as an original and a card, the most piquant joker in the pack. His indomitable nerve, as a faintly raffish outsider, in scaling the highest peaks of public life, added spice ... to an increasingly unpopular government.'
Preface; Introduction; 1. The theatre of life; 2. The theatre of politics, 1832-1837; 3. The theatre of parliament, 1837-1846; 4. A leading part, 1846-1865; 5. Top of the bill, 1865-1881; Envoi: the primrose sphinx; Notes; Index.