English folk wisdom offers the rule, ""Never trust a Welshman."" This critical iography of David Lloyd George makes that national prejudice seem reasonable. Mr. McCormick sets out a fine array of facts that leaves no doubt the man's feet were clay clear up to his collar bone. At the same time, there is a balancing, grudging, respect for the truly magic performance of the first British Prime Minister to come to his ffice without tribal connections in the Established Church or the universities. By oing into every aspect of a long life, the author documents how Lloyd George could natch virtue from the jaws of scandal in divorce cases where he was the most likely correspondent; how he could betray political supporters while charming new ones; how e could blatantly sell peerages while sneering at the system and then accept one; and last, but not least, how he could personally control the pile of cash that the sale of onors brought while claiming it was for his party. Mr. McCormick's tone is one of uperbly sustained irritation. His assessment of Lloyd George's role as head of the oalition government during WWI may be less than fair, particularly in view of the ributes from Churchill and other contemporaries. Nevertheless, this is a necessary ook, for the many others from over the years have tended to cover up more than they eveal about this latter day Merlin, especially the sad performance of his last days.