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Following his earlier survey of 20th Century British Prime Ministers (A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair), Dick Leonard turns his attention to their 19th Century predecessors, including such major figures as the Younger Pitt, the Duke of Wellington, Earl Grey, Palmerston, Disraeli and Gladstone. In a series of 20 biographical essays, he recounts the principal events of their political careers, the circumstances which brought them to the top of 'the greasy pole', assesses their performance as Prime Ministers, and asks what lasting influence they have had. He also recounts fascinating and often little-known facts from both their private and public lives, for example, which Prime Minister got his parents to bring up his illegitimate daughter and pass her off as his much younger sister? Which Prime Minister spent his evenings prowling the streets of London, trying to 'reform' prostitutes? Who was assassinated in the House of Commons? Who told a courtesan who tried to blackmail him 'Publish and be dammed'? And who proclaimed Queen Victoria as Empress of India?