Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Review published Jan 2017.

Born Benjamin D'Israeli and died Lord Beaconsfield, he was a flamboyant dresser and truly outstanding orator and politician who gradually moved the Conservative Party in Great Britain to the left, most notably by the passage of the Reform Act of 1867 which broadly widened the electorate.

Nineteenth century Britain was at its most aristocratic, and the processes of politics and governance were inexorably intertwined with a highly class-conscious social life involving attendance at countless dinners and parties and frequent visits to the estates of the landed gentry. Disraeli was a brilliant conversationalist and wit, with a most chivalrous nature, and charmed British ladies (not least the Queen) with his flowery speech. Somehow he increased his political and social effectiveness despite a very broad-based antagonism against his Jewishness, his lack of a public-school education, and his financial difficulties which continued until quite late in life.

So a biography of this remarkable statesman must describe in detail all his interaction with innumerable members of Britain's ruling class, and this is precisely what English historian Christopher Hibbert, himself a member of that very same class, has done to perfection.