The Life of William Ewart Gladstone by John Morley
Morley's authorised biography of Gladstone (1809-1898) was published in 1903, and is a landmark of political biography. Four times Liberal Prime Minister between 1868 and 1894, Gladstone had left an enormous archive of letters, papers and diaries, which Morley (1838-1923), himself a noted Liberal politician and writer, spent five years distilling into three volumes. Although many other biographies and editions have since been published, Morley's work is still valuable for his use of primary sources, especially for the earlier part of Gladstone's career. Morley avoids overt party bias, but is understandably discreet in his treatment of more recent political events. He also ignores more private aspects of his subject's life and, as an agnostic, did not empathise with Gladstone's strong religious convictions. Volume 3 covers the period from 1880 to Gladstone's death in 1898, including the Sudan crisis, and the fierce debates over Irish Home Rule.