Monday, August 22, 2011


I've always been intrigued by William Pitt, the youngest Prime Minister (age 24) in the history of England.  My friends, Lisa and Vic, recommended this book to me and I received it in near perfect condition from Abe Books (love that site).

William Pitt was Prime Minister for 19 years during tremendously turbulent times in Britain.  Starting in 1784, he picked up the mantle just as the American War of Independence (funny, we commonly refer to it as the American Revolution) was ending and during his leadership had to deal with the broken down finances from that war and then head right into the French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, Irish rebellion, and the disaster of the East Indian Company.  Oh, and let's not forget the madness of King George.

So many familiar names from that era are scattered throughout the book: William Wilberforce,  Charles James Fox, Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire, Admiral Nelson, Warren Hastings, Catherine the Great, really too many to name.

What I like about Pitt is his discipline and focus to help his country.  He loved his country and did not view his work as a sacrifice.  He was a serious minded leader who rarely took time off. His speeches and writing were eloquent.  In a speech in the House of Commons in 1797 attacking the French Directory (French leaders), Pitt declared, "There is one great resource, which I trust will never abandon us, and which has shone forth in the English character by which we have preserved our existence and fame, as a nation, which I trust we shall be determined never to abandon under any extremity...that we know great exertions are wanting, that we are prepared to make them, and at all events determined to stand or fall by the laws, liberties, and religion of our country." He died far too young, at the age of 45, from terrible stomach issues that would be easily treated in this day.

Some history books read as a homework assignment.  But, this was not tedious.  I did have to re-read paragraphs at times because of direct quotes which when written in the 18th century style are sometimes hard to understand the first time around. I highly recommend this book.

William Hague, the author, is the current British Foreign Secretary and an excellent writer. William Pitt the Younger was published in 2004.


  1. Sounds intriguing. I think the movie "Amazing Grace" deals with William Pitt.

  2. Many thanks Kim for this is so nice when history comes alive, no matter what the medium.

    Thanks for stopping by..I am with you on the Chameau boots, dark green for me:)

    Jeanne xx

  3. Tami: Love that movie. So good.

    Jeanne: Thanks for visiting!