William Francis Butler - Victorian adventurer, author and militarist - is a man ripe for discovery at this time of changing definitions of what it means to be an Irish nationalist. This scholarly yet accessible biography describes an atypical Irishman, born to minor Tipperary Catholic gentry, O'Connellite in sympathy, who developed a dazzling career in the British army. The quintessential eminent Irish Victorian, Butler's life encompassed treks across Canada's prairies in the early 1870s (when he founded the Mounties); Gladstone's 1884-5 attempt to rescue Gordon from Khartoum; co-respondency in the sensational 1886 London divorce case involving Lady Colin Campbell; General in command of the imperial forces in South Africa 1898-9 (his 1905 Report exposed the multimillion pound army supplies scandal); a political career as 1904 Dublin Home-Rule Party candidate, 1905 Leeds Liberal Party candidate, and 1908 election to Senator in the new National University of Ireland. He also wrote fourteen books, among them the bestelling Red Cloud, about the Plains Indians of the American West, as well as military biography and travel literature - The Great Lone Land became a Canadian classic. His wife, the artist Elizabeth Butler (nee Thompson), was a celebrated Victorian scenepainter. His great friend, the flamboyant Dublin-born Garnet Wolseley, 'a very model of a modern major-general', was one of the dominant figures of the British military hierarchy during the scramble for Africa and a three-fold expansion of Empire in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This uniquely sympathetic Life portrays an intriguing, anti-jingoistic individual, whose ambitions in public life and colonial experience were tempered by his concern for the underdog and a late-developing Parnellite sense of Irish nationalism. Butler is restored to position: the humanitarian Irish career-Victorian turning his attention to home affairs before the defining quietus of the Great War. Maps, photographs, engravings and paintings will illustrate this important, lively contribution to British, Canadian and Irish history.
Publisher: The Lilliput Press Ltd
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
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