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Charles James Fox - L. G. Mitchell

Hardcover

Published: 4th June 1992
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Charles James Fox was one of the most colourful figures in eighteenth-century politics. Notorious for the excesses of his private life, he was at the same time one of the leading politicians of his generation, dominating the Whig party and polite society. As the political rival of Pitt the Younger and the intellectual rival of Edmund Burke, his views on the major issues of the day - the American War of Independence, the French Revolution, parliamentary reform - formed the character of Whiggery in his own time and for years to come.Fox's historical reputation has been hotly disputed. Some have hailed him as one of the founding fathers of Radicalism, others have dismissed him as an irritating and irresponsible impediment to the statesmanship of Pitt. L. G. Mitchell's scholarly biography shows that in many ways Fox was a politician through circumstance, not inclination. Dr Mitchell analyses the ties of kinship and friendship which to an astonishing degree dictated Fox's politics, and offers striking new assessments of Whiggery and its most potent personality. This penetrating and readable study reveals the man and his mind, and sets Fox firmly within the political and social context of the late eighteenth century.

`a highly readable book...' John Biffen, The Times `L.G. Mitchell, one of Oxford's brightest young historians, has written the definitive and (because he likes his subject so much) certainly the most penetrating biography someone so unfathomable has inspired. ... Mitchell wisely refuses to smooth a career full of ambiguities and hesitations into a tale of undeviating consistency. He traces its fluctuations with great subtlety. The result, quite simply, is one of this year's best books, a brilliantly readable achievement.' Financial Times (no name given) 'It is greatly to the credit of the author of this book that he does not only tell the life-story of his subject, but also seeks to explain, and indeed to appraise, the legend that for almost 200 years has gathered around his name ... this meticulous but by no means austere biography ... One of the strengths of this book lies in the way it looks at the private man just as much as the public one.' Anthony Howard, Sunday Times `so good that we can now quite happily wait another 20 years before we'll need any more. ...Mr Mitchell has produced as definitive a biography as it is possible to write of a personality as huge and diverse as Charles James Fox' Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph `a full, scholarly biography, rich in detail and authoritative in appraisal ... This exhaustively researched book tells the story excellently.' The Spectator 'For two decades no biography appeared of Charles James Fox ... This latest, by the Oxford historian Leslie Mitchell, is so good that we can now quite happily wait another 20 years before we'll need any more. Mr Mitchell has produced as definitive a biography as it is possible to write of a personality as huge and diverse as Charles James Fox.' Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph 'Leslie Mitchell's new book is undoubtedly the best account of Fox's career to be written thus far - scholarly, lucid, perceptive and unfailingly humane.' Times Literary Supplement 'His analysis of Fox's actual stance, as opposed to his later reputation, in relation to the great liberal causes of religious toleration, abolition of slavery, and Parliamentary Reform is careful and clear.' London Review of Books 'readable and sympathetic biography' Shaun Spiers, Tribune 'readable and sympathetic biography' Tribune 'Most tellingly of all, Mitchell's examination of Fox's views on the French Revolution reveals a man unable to grasp the novelty of what was happening. Mitchell's careful demarcation between what Fox thought and what the radicals he sometimes threw up with thought is highly necessary.' Francis Spufford, The Guardian 'a fine biography' Richard W. Davis, Washington University, Parliamentary History, Vol. 12, Pt 2 (1993) 'L.G. Mitchell, author of important studies of Foxite politics and Whig society, has crafted a biographical gem from his exhaustive search of primary sources. A work of remarkable compression and lucidity, it is meticulously footnoted and contains an extensive bibliography and some illustrations. Scholars and general readers alike will welcome Mitchell's excellent biography.' William C. Wilbur, Eckerd College, The Historian, Vol. 55, No. 4, Summer '93 'a scholarly production, thick with footnote references to sources ... Well constructed and beautifully written ... in a class above other biographies of Fox.' P.D.G. Thomas, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 'This is a comprehensively researched life of Fox, written with immense sympathy and verve, and illuminated by telling quotations and a congenially succinct prose style. Dr Mitchell shows great insight into Fox's character. This is a well-rounded portrait of Fox, free from false sentiment, and expressive of an affection for Fox which does not ignore his failings.' John Derry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, History, No. 256, June 1994

List of Illustrations
Short Titles
A Father's Son, 1749-1774p. 1
The Making of a Whig, 1774-1782p. 25
Constitutional Crisis, 1782-1784p. 46
New Principles and Old Failings, 1784-1789p. 72
In Foxite Societyp. 92
The French Revolution, 1789-1794p. 108
Secession from Parliament, 1794-1801p. 136
Fox, the Directory, and Bonaparte, 1794-1802p. 158
Books and Domesticity, 1794-1802p. 178
Political Life Resumed, 1801-1806p. 194
The Talents Ministry, 1806p. 220
Reform and Liberalismp. 241
Epiloguep. 262
Notesp. 267
Select Bibliographyp. 323
Indexp. 335
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198201045
ISBN-10: 0198201044
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 356
Published: 4th June 1992
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.28 x 16.38  x 2.77
Weight (kg): 0.78