This is the first biography of Stanley Baldwin for more than ten years, although there had been four in the preceding decade. This is strange, for Baldwin has recently begun to swim back into fashion. In part this is a function of growing nostalgia for his period of power, the 1920s and 1930s. Still more, however, it is " because Mrs Thatchers brand of Conservative leadership has made him an object of contrasting interest in a way that Harold Macmillans or Edward Heaths never did. When a new exponent of an alternative style temporarily achieves notice, it is now frequently suggested that he might be a new Baldwin. This reappraisal is therefore appropriately timed. It is written by a skilled political biographer, from a non-Conservative, although not personally unsympathetic, standpoint.Baldwin was born in 1867, the son of a rich Worcestershire ironmaster, and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. He then worked in the family business for twenty years. Although the most self-conscious countryman amongst British Prime Ministers of the past hundred years or more, he was not a country squire and never owned more than a few acres of land. He did not enter the House of Commons until he was forty, and was not even a junior minister until the threshold of fifty. Less than six years later, in 1923, he became Prime Minister and dominated British politics for the next fifteen years - the only man of this century to hold the highest office three times.

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