William Ewart Gladstone was both the most charismatic and the most extraordinary of Victorians.
His huge public career - in and out of office from 1834 to 1894 and four times prime minister - was consistently controversial and dramatic.
His private life was a most curious blend of happiness and temptation.
His Christian faith held the extremes of his character in sufficient harmony to avoid disintegration and to produce one of the most powerful politicalpersonalities in British history.
H. C. G. Matthew's writings on Gladstone are generally acknowledged to have transformed understanding of the `Grand Old Man' of British Politics, and indeed his whole age.
Appearing first as Introductions to his definitive edition of The Gladstone Diaries, they have been revised and made available in this volume, collected together in paperback for the first time.
Gladstone 1809-1874: 'It deserves to become a classic of the genre' Illustrated London News 'For any aficionado of the high politics - and low life - of the nineteenth century, this book is a must' Observer 'the most sensitive and informed insight to date' English Historical Review Gladstone 1875-1898 (winner of the Wolfson History Prize 1995): 'Rarely can a single scholar have re-mapped a whole historical territory so grandly as H.
C. G. Matthew has done in the case of Gladstone in particular and of Victorian politics and culture in general' English Historical Review