Edwardian Requiem by Michael Waterhouse (Was £25. Now £9.99)
The Life of Sir Edward Grey
Hardback, 448 pages
23 April 2013
Best remembered for his portentous remark at the outbreak of the Great War, ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time’, Sir Edward Grey was a consummate Edwardian politician and one of the most notable statesmen of an era abounding with them. Grey was the longest continuous serving Foreign Secretary of his or any age. It was a position he filled for more than a decade, under Campbell-Bannerman and then Asquith, during which time he battled relentlessly to protect and advance the interests of his country against the volatile backdrop of a Europe in which the balance of power was tilting wildly.
Grey was full of contradictions. Deep in his heart he was a country-loving fisherman, a naturalist and ornithologist who preferred reading Wordsworth to giving speeches in his constituency and answering questions on foreign policy in the House. Yet he spent nearly thirty years in Parliament and only reluctantly became Foreign Secretary of a country that presided over the greatest empire the world had seen since Roman times.
A peace-loving statesman who rarely left his shores, it fell to Grey to ask his country to go to war with Germany over a broken treaty agreement. Edwardian Requiem is the remarkable portrait of a complex and enigmatic statesman who presided over the twilight of old Europe.