Sir Charles Dilke's claim to a leading place in the pantheon of Victorian radicalism, with Cobden, Bright and Chamberlain, has been overshadowed by the sensational divorce case in 1886 that ruined his career. Yet his political abilities were great and his career a most remarkable one. He was regarded by many of his contemporaries as a likely successor to Gladstone and a probable future Prime Minister. It can be argued that his political eclipse was a crucial contributing factor to the Liberal Party's failure to provide a viable alternative to the rise of the Labour Party.
This is the first new biography of Dilke since Roy Jenkins' Sir Charles Dilke: A Victorian Tragedy, published in 1958. David Nicholls has used substantial new material to provide what is likely to be the definitive work on Dilke, shedding new light on his character, personal life and political career, as well as on the famous divorce scandal. This highly readable book is both an account of a remarkable man and an important contribution to the understanding of Victorian politics.