John Simon holds a unique position in the political history of twentieth-century Britain, as the only figure to occupy the four great offices of state beneath the premiership: the Foreign Secretaryship, the Home Office, the Exchequer and the Woolsack.
Yet despite the fact that Simon was also one of the most successful barristers of his generation, he long escaped the attention of a biographer, the consequence perhaps of an apparently cold personality and a determination to preserve his own privacy.
David Dutton offers an important reappraisal of a man whose political career began with the landslide Liberal General Election victory of 1906 and ended almost half a century later in the era of the post-war welfare state.
In doing so, he adds significantly to our understanding of such important themes as the decline of the Liberal Party and the development of the policy of appeasement. Above all, however, the book removes the veil which has hitherto concealed Simon’s complex personality.
‘A skilled biographer with an excellent knowledge of the period.’
‘A very good political biography... He has put all amateurs of twentieth-century political history in his debt.’