LORD READING: The Life of Rufus Isaacs by H. Montgomery Hyde

LORD READING: The Life of Rufus Isaacs

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The British statesman, Rufus Isaacs, First Marquess of Reading, was born in 1860. Son of a Jewish fruit merchant and ship broker, Rufus went to sea at sixteen as cabin-boy in one of his father's sailing ships, a Job for which he was singularly unfitted. Returning to London, he indulged in a brief and unsuccessful career on the stock exchange, then turned to the law, in which his rise was spectacular. A barrister at 27 and Queen's Counsel at 37, he entered Parliament in 1904; in 1910, as Sir Rufus Isaacs, he became Solicitor General, the first Jew to hold that office. His innocent involvement in the notorious Marconi scandal brought him anti-Semitic criticism, but failed to prevent his appointment as Lord Chief Justice in 1913. He served as Ambassador to Washington; in 1920 became Viceroy to India, the first Jew to hold this honor. Hoping to help India toward Dominion status, then Lord Reading had trouble with native princes and religions and was forced to arrest Gandhi, whom he respected, for his campaign of non-cooperation. He later served in various financial and political capacities in England, died in 1935. Competently written and carefully documented but lacking humor and any sparkle of interpretative insight, this factual biography will serve as an excellent reference book on international politics and on Reading's legal cases; casual readers may find it heavy going.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1967
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux