Pitt the Elder
Man of War
Groundbreaking in its approach, this is the definitive biography of William Pitt the Elder - a brilliant, yet tragic, British statesman.
This remarkable book opens at the dawn of the British Empire - with the great sea battle at Quiberon Bay where French ships, intended for the 1759 invasion of Britain, are chased, caught and defeated by a fleet commanded by Admiral Sir Edward Hawke. In this momentous victory Britain effectively settled the outcome of the Seven Years' War and established itself as the world's dominant imperial power.
At the heart of the conflict with France was William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham and Britain's future Prime Minister. Weaving together military history and political biography Edward Pearce provides a portrait of the man 'with an eye like a diamond' - a man who had close ties with the slave trade and who preached war and British supremacy on a world stage. Alongside detailed descriptions of battles in Europe and North America we follow Pitt's career as a politician - one that was closely intertwined with General James Wolfe at Quebec; American independence; the slow mind of George III and the quick one of the
Praise for Pitt the Elder
Close-knit accountDuncan Fallowell, Daily Express
Pitt was the hero...He was, as Edward Pearce argues in this revisionist biography, the show business man of warThe Spectator
Pearce enlivens the narrative with crisp characterisations of the figures on the stageJWM Thompson, The Oldie
[Pearce] constantly, often illuminatingly and sometimes wittily, draws parallels between the English politics of Pitt's time and more recent events or personalitiesThe Independent
This is an immensely readable book - informative, scholarly, but never dryRichard Ormrod, The Tablet
Pearce shrewdly captured the problems involved in interpreting the career of a man who fell under the spell of his own speechifyingE L Devlin, Times Literary Supplement