Simon Kerry

Lansdowne

The Last Great Whig

Unicorn Publishing Group 2018

New Books in BiographyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 27, 2018 Charles Coutinho

Despite having been Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State for War, Governor-General of Canada and Viceroy of India, Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, the 5th Marquess...

Despite having been Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State for War, Governor-General of Canada and Viceroy of India, Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, the 5th Marquess of Lansdowne is one of the least well known political figures of the 1st rank in late 19th-century / early 20th-century British politics. The great-grandson of Talleyrand and according to Lord Vansittart, the Foreign Secretary with the best command of French of any in his personal experience, Lord Lansdowne has not had a biography devoted to him since the official one by Lord Newton almost ninety-years ago. To rectify this horrible oversight, Lansdowne’s direct descendent, Simon, Lord Kerry, has written a brilliant life of his famous ancestor–Lansdowne: The Last Great Whig (Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018).

Covering the entirety of Lansdowne political life, Simon Kerry brings out the inner Lord Lansdowne, which was not readily seen by his contemporaries. The Lansdowne who almost single-handled engineered the revolution in British foreign policy at the turn of the 20th century.  As well as the author of the famous ‘Lansdowne Letter’ of November 1917. Descended from one of the Great Whig families, Lansdowne was a moderate progressive incapable of discourtesy or lack of honesty. Trusted by all, his life illustrates the challenges that the traditional landed aristocracy faced in the late Victorian era and afterwards.  Simon Kerry’s vita will be regarded definitive work on Lord Lansdowne, based as it is upon the first extensive examination of Lansdowne personal papers and archives.


Charles Coutinho holds a doctorate in history from New York University. Where he studied with Tony Judt, Stewart Stehlin and McGeorge Bundy. His Ph. D. dissertation was on Anglo-American relations in the run-up to the Suez Crisis of 1956. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. It you have a recent title to suggest for a podcast, please send an e-mail to [email protected].

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