William Anthony Hay
A Political Life
Boydell Press 2018
If Lord Derby was the ‘forgotten Prime Minister’ and Andrew Bonar-Law was the ‘Unknown Prime Minister’ then Robert Banks Jenkinson (1770-1828), 2nd Earl of Liverpool, who was Britain’s longest serving prime minister since William Pitt the Younger, surely deserves is own epithet. While not providing us with that, William Anthony Hay, Associate Professor of History at Mississippi State University has instead provided us with the definitive modern study of Lord Liverpool’s political career–Lord Liverpool: A Political Life (Boydell Press, 2018. In a beautifully written and produced book, one that any student of late 18th century and early 19th century British history will not wish to be without, Hay delineates for the reader Lord Liverpool’s manifold achievements and failures in office. From such seismic events as the War of 1812 with the United States, the endgame of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Corn Laws, the Peterloo Massacre, to the escalating contention over the issue of Catholic Emancipation. Hay’s book puts Liverpool’s career and his efforts at resisting change into context, bringing this period of British history into needed focus. It shows Liverpool as a defender of the eighteenth-century British constitution, documenting his efforts at adapting institutions to the challenges of war and then the very different post-1815 world. Despite being shaped by eighteenth-century assumptions, Liverpool emerges as one of the key individuals who laid the foundations for the nineteenth-century Britain that emerged from the Reform era.
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].