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William Pitt The Younger by William Hague

William Pitt The Younger

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Winner of History Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2005

A perfect match of author and subject. I was privileged to be at a dinner where Hague spoke to the book trade, pre-publication. I can’t remember seeing an author so excited about his subject since I listened to Tim Smitt talk about the Eden Project. He was truly inspiring, a man in love with his subject who relates it here with drama, authority and wit.

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William Pitt The Younger by William Hague

The younger William Pitt – known as the ‘schoolboy’ – began his days as Prime Minister in 1783 deeply underestimated and completely beleaguered. Yet he annihilated his opponents in the General Election the following year and dominated the governing of Britain for twenty-two years, nearly nineteen of them as Prime Minister. No British politician since then has exercised such supremacy for so long.

Pitt presided over dramatic changes in the country’s finances and trade, brought about the union with Ireland, but was ultimately consumed by the years of debilitating war with France. Domestic crises included unrest in Ireland, deep division in the royal family, the madness of the King and a full-scale naval mutiny. He enjoyed huge success, yet died at the nadir of his fortunes, struggling to maintain a government beset by a thin majority at home and military disaster abroad; he worked, worried and drank himself to death. Finally his story is told with the drama, wit and authority it deserves.


‘A weighty and scholarly biography ... the empathy, indeed the identification of subject with author, is remarkable. Hague deserves an accolade ... he has written a serious, detailed and thoughtful study of one of Britain's greatest prime ministers’ Guardian

‘Truly fine ... The need for a distinguished, readable, single-volume work has long been recognised. William Hague has now triumphantly filled this gap’ Scotsman

About the Author

William Hague
William Hague was born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire and caused a sensation at the age of sixteen by speaking at the Conservative party's national conference. Subsequently, Hague went to Magdalen College, Oxford and while there was President of the Oxford Union. He was elected to Parliament for Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1989, and entered the Cabinet in 1995 as Secretary of State for Wales. In 1997, Hague was elected leader of the Conservative Party in succession to John Major. Whilst now on the backbenches, he occasionally still speaks in the House of Commons on the issues of the day.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd May 2005


William Hague

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Harpercollins Publishers


688 pages


Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Biography: historical, political & military

Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Political leaders & leadership



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