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Jeremy Thorpe

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349142203

Price: £14.99

ON SALE: 7th January 2016

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

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‘A revealing, insightful and gripping biography of one of the most extraordinary people ever to lead a British political party’ Observer

The story of Jeremy Thorpe’s rapid rise and spectacular fall from grace is one of the most remarkable in British politics. When he became leader of the Liberal Party in 1967 at the age of just thirty-seven, he seemed destined for truly great things. But as his star steadily rose so his nemesis drew ever nearer: a time-bomb in the form of Norman Scott, a homosexual wastrel and sometime male model with whom Jeremy had formed an ill-advised relationship in the early 1960s. Scott’s incessant boasts about their ‘affair’ became increasingly embarrassing, and eventually led to a bizarre murder plot to shut him up for good. Jeremy was acquitted of involvement but his career was in ruins.

Michael Bloch’s magisterial biography is not just a brilliant retelling of this amazing story; ten years in the making, it is also the definitive character study of one of the most fascinating figures in post-war British politics.

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Before he started the biography of Jeremy Thorpe, the "formidable" Liberal Baroness Seear said to Michael Bloch, "you'll never get to the bottom of him". That he has managed to do so, unravelling each facet of Thorpe's character in Russian doll-like fashion, is a measure of Bloch's skill in capturing his subject. Not only is this a fascinating portrait of a talented but deeply flawed individual, it's also a totally compelling narrative that takes on the best aspects of an addictive thriller
John Clarke, Independent
A breathtaking read . . . this biography has been well worth the wait
Mark Leftly, Independent on Sunday
This smoothly impressive biography . . . makes for a fascinating read . . . Bloch makes a better job of juggling the two sides of his subject's life - the glamorous progressive and the seedy show-off - than Thorpe did himself
Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
Bloch's candour made it impossible to publish the book until now. It has been well worth the wait. For those too young to remember Thorpe, it will be a thrilling read. And for their elders, this is a vivid, fizzing evocation of pre-Thatcher England . . . Bloch is the perfect biographer for Thorpe, with matchless insights into his glamour, seediness, exhibitionism, self-obsession and pain . . . a lively mixture of investigative reporter, taunting imp and Old Testament moralist
Richard Davenport-Hines, Daily Telegraph
Michael Bloch's book is worth reading whether you are familiar with the story or not . . . He is such a deft guide that he makes even Liberal Party politics sound interesting . . . He writes with calm expertise about Thorpe's double-ledgered life . . . He weighs up the evidence with care as well as brio . . . Anyone who knows his biography of James Lees-Milne will not be surprised that this is equally expertly, indeed perfectly done
Douglas Murray, Spectator
Through painstaking research and distillation, Michael Bloch has produced a masterpiece of biography. If he has not solved the enigma of Jeremy Thorpe, then he has come as close as anyone will to solving it
Paul Walter, Liberal Democrat Voice
Michael Bloch tells the tale of Jeremy Thorpe's extraordinary life with panache and precision . . . A riveting story, well told
Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
[A] revealing, insightful and gripping biography of one of the most extraordinary people ever to lead a British political party
Michael Bloch's new biography of the former Liberal leader is never less than riveting . . . What makes this biography a triumph is the way Bloch weaves the Scott story into a proper political and personal account of Thorpe's life . . . With the hidden gay life, the blackmail, the fraud, the raffish and unsuitable friends, the family suicides, the payoffs, the lies, the secret letters, the bizarre murder plots, the celebrity world, the story of Jeremy Thorpe is one of the most extraordinary political tales of the twentieth century. And in Michael Bloch it has found a worthy chronicler
Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
This is a brilliant biography
Philip Hensher, Guardian