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'The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time.' The words of Sir Edward Grey, looking out from the windows of the Foreign Office at the end of August 1914, are amongst the most famous in European history, and encapsulate the impending end of the nineteenth-century world. The man who spoke them was Britain's longest-ever serving F 'The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time.' The words of Sir Edward Grey, looking out from the windows of the Foreign Office at the end of August 1914, are amongst the most famous in European history, and encapsulate the impending end of the nineteenth-century world. The man who spoke them was Britain's longest-ever serving Foreign Secretary (in a single span of office) and one of the great figures of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Statesman of Europe describes the three decades before the First World War through the prism of his biography, which is based almost entirely on archival sources and presents a detailed account of the main domestic and international events, and of the main personalities of the era. In particular, it presents a fresh understanding of the approach to war in the years and months before its outbreak, and Grey's role in the unfolding of events. Yet Grey's life was not all public affairs, momentous as those were. He disliked being in London, much preferring country life at Fallodon, his family estate in Northumberland, and displayed none of the ambition of his contemporaries (or successors). He attended assiduously to his duties as director of the Great North Eastern Railway, one of the transformative enterprises in industry and communications of the period, and wanted to spend as much time as he could fishing. Apart from his memoirs, the only book he wrote was called The Charm of Birds. This hinterland gave quality to his judgements, and made his character attractive to his contemporaries. This important book is the definitive biography of one of the pivotal figures in European diplomacy, and a magnificent portrait of an age.


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'The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time.' The words of Sir Edward Grey, looking out from the windows of the Foreign Office at the end of August 1914, are amongst the most famous in European history, and encapsulate the impending end of the nineteenth-century world. The man who spoke them was Britain's longest-ever serving F 'The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time.' The words of Sir Edward Grey, looking out from the windows of the Foreign Office at the end of August 1914, are amongst the most famous in European history, and encapsulate the impending end of the nineteenth-century world. The man who spoke them was Britain's longest-ever serving Foreign Secretary (in a single span of office) and one of the great figures of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Statesman of Europe describes the three decades before the First World War through the prism of his biography, which is based almost entirely on archival sources and presents a detailed account of the main domestic and international events, and of the main personalities of the era. In particular, it presents a fresh understanding of the approach to war in the years and months before its outbreak, and Grey's role in the unfolding of events. Yet Grey's life was not all public affairs, momentous as those were. He disliked being in London, much preferring country life at Fallodon, his family estate in Northumberland, and displayed none of the ambition of his contemporaries (or successors). He attended assiduously to his duties as director of the Great North Eastern Railway, one of the transformative enterprises in industry and communications of the period, and wanted to spend as much time as he could fishing. Apart from his memoirs, the only book he wrote was called The Charm of Birds. This hinterland gave quality to his judgements, and made his character attractive to his contemporaries. This important book is the definitive biography of one of the pivotal figures in European diplomacy, and a magnificent portrait of an age.

34 review for Statesman of Europe: A Life of Sir Edward Grey

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I was slightly apprehensive at the thought of reading a 700 page biography of anyone, let alone a 19th century politician. However the author cleverly combines the basic biography, early years, education and career, into a thoroughly enjoyable snippet of pre WW1 Britain. Throughout the book I gradually came to admire the controversial foreign secretary. With his old world love of a simple life spent in the country, to his forward looking Liberal views and moralistic approach to political life. T I was slightly apprehensive at the thought of reading a 700 page biography of anyone, let alone a 19th century politician. However the author cleverly combines the basic biography, early years, education and career, into a thoroughly enjoyable snippet of pre WW1 Britain. Throughout the book I gradually came to admire the controversial foreign secretary. With his old world love of a simple life spent in the country, to his forward looking Liberal views and moralistic approach to political life. The book does delve into a lot of detail regarding Grey’s political life and those of his peers, which I found needed some stamina to read, reread and absorb. This could have been the writing style of the author or simply my own academic level, but too much detail and information can hardly be a criticism of a book that I choose to read for that very reason. One of those reading experiences that leaves a mark on you, historically and ethically, I loved it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  3. 4 out of 5

    Doc Martin

  4. 4 out of 5

    louise lavender

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

  6. 4 out of 5

    Abelard

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ingmar Weyland

  9. 5 out of 5

    Constantinos Kitromilis

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emrys

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bunny Bixler

  12. 4 out of 5

    Terry Wilson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anders

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carl Griffiths

  15. 4 out of 5

    Izzy Kates

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hiran Patel

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cspetka

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Day

  20. 4 out of 5

    Craig O'Callaghan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dropbear123

  22. 4 out of 5

    Atul

  23. 4 out of 5

    Walker Swindell

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alasdair

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adriano L

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Zelenski

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tory

  29. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  30. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Parrack

  31. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

  32. 5 out of 5

    Peter Hardy

  33. 4 out of 5

    Daniel R. Pinto

  34. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Minor

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