Title: The Great Man
Author: Edward Pearce
Spartacus Website: Robert Walpole
The year 1721 has many splendours: great houses built by William Kent, fine pictures and the fruits of commerce. But there are also thirteen public hanging days a year, drunkenness is endemic, organised crime rampages through the streets. And politics are ferocious. Robert Walpole, once imprisoned for financial chicanery, assumes political control and becomes Prime Minister. He personally detects a Jacobite plot, is dismissed in 1727 on the death of George I, recruits the new King's clever wife, Caroline, and bounces cheerfully back. Coarse, corrupt and cynical, Walpole dominates King, Parliament and Government until 1742.
Author: Ian McIntyre
Publisher: Constable & Robinson
Spartacus Website: Hester Salusbury
Hester Salusbury was a child prodigy. Later, as Hester Thrale, her wit, learning and vivacity would attract the greats of the day, Joshua Reynolds, Fanny Burney, Boswell, David Garrick and Edmund Burke to the household at Streatham Park. She published to great popularity and acclaim on Johnson, irritating the hell out of Boswell, and remains one of our most perceptive sources. One of our first female historians, a feminist without knowing it, she also broke new ground in politics and business. When her husband died, rumours flew that she'd wed Johnson. Instead, she ran off with an Italian music teacher. The scandal consumed London society - and her relationship with her daughters. But Hester was passionately in love (it was a love that nearly killed her). This is a brightly lit portrait of an exceptional woman whose life, loves and letters make a vivid and important contribution to our understanding of Georgian England.