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John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty (Hardback)
  • John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty (Hardback)
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John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty (Hardback)

(author)
£120.00
Hardback 294 Pages / Published: 28/03/1996
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Often deemed the founder of British radicalism, John Wilkes (1725-1797) had a shattering impact on the politics of his time. His audacity in challenging government authority was matched by his skill and determination in attaining his objectives: the freedom of the press to criticize ministers and report Parliament; enhanced security for individuals and their property from arbitrary arrest and seizure; and the rights of electors. That he was a political maverick, of witty and wicked reputation, has led historians to underestimate him - this is the first researched biography since 1917. Contemporaries appreciated his achievements more than posterity, one obituarist writing that 'his name will be connected with our history'. In this fascinating and original biography, Peter Thomas provides an intriguing portrait of the man George III referred to as 'that Devil, Wilkes'.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198205449
Number of pages: 294
Weight: 494 g
Dimensions: 233 x 146 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
No scholar knows more about the issues and practices of British politics in the era of the War of American Independence than Thomas. He is ideally situated to provide the ideological context within which Wilkes must be understood by later generations. Providing that context is one of the major achievements of this study. * Reed Browning, Albion *
thorough and scholarly study of Wilkes's private life and public career * Sunday Times *
A fascinating and intriguing portrait of the man George III referred to as "that devil". * Books Magazine *
the first properly researched biography to have appeared since 1917 ... Professor Thomas is well-qualified to give Wilkes this kind of scholarly going-over ... Peter Thomas comes out with a flourish of support for the traditional view of Wilkes as a man of principle: a rascal, yes, but a genuine radical too. Most readers will, I fancy, be glad to see that final verdict. * Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph *
Thomas is clear, well informed and judicious in his treatment of the highlights of Wilkes's most famous public disputes with successive administrations. * Times Literary Supplement *
Peter Thomas has produced the first serious study of Wilkes for some years. * London Review of Books *
no scholar as well versed in the period as Peter Thomas has previously offered an account of his life ... This biography of Wilkes displays his characteristic virtues ... These characteristics combine to make the narrative engaging and refreshing, and in general a pleasure to read. He has chosen to play to his established strengths, and this book makes the extent as well as the limits of these fully apparent. * Joanna Innes, Somerville College, Oxford, Labour History Review, Vol. 61, No. 3, Winter 1996 *
we gain deep insight into his character, ideas and conduct, and the way these related to the social and political developments of his time ... The narrative is flawless, the comment stimulating, and Professor Thomas comes to a clear and fair decision about the many controversial episodes in Wilkes's career. Many of the details of this long and stormy career are already familiar, but Professor Thomas relates and evaluates them with refreshing verve ... this enjoyable and informative book succeeds in rehabilitating Wilkes to some extent, by drawing attention more to his merits than his failings. * Michael J. Turner, University of Reading, Parliamentary History 16/3 *
As one would expect, the author's command of parliamentary sources and the newspaper press is second to none, and the work has an authoritative precision which many readers will appreciate ... essentially a political biography. As such it succeeds very well and will be recommended reading at more than one level. * G.M. Ditchfield, University of Kent at Canterbury, BJECS 20.2 (1997) *

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