LORD LOTHIAN by Sir James Butler

LORD LOTHIAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written by a former Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, this biography of Philip Henry Kerr, Lord Lothian, British Ambassador to Washington in the years 1939-1940, is the story of a modest, charming, wealthy and deeply religious man, a journalist, ardent and sometimes mistaken sympathizer with the rights of minorites, and a diplomat who misjudged Hitler and understood America. Born in 1882 to an ancient Border-Scots Catholic family, his grandfather the 7th Marquis of Lothian, Kerr succeeded to the title and vast estates in 1930. He began his diplomatic career in 1903, soon after he left Oxford, in 1916 he became editor of The Round Table, a magazine of the British Empire. He served for a time as Lloyd George's secretary and later in the India Office, he was for 14 years General Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, a post which brought him many times to the U.S. A close friend of Lady Astor, who converted him to Christian Science, he was for years misled by Hitler into believing that Germany wanted peace. Suffering bitter disillusionment in 1938, he was the next year made Ambassador to Washington, where his wide knowledge of America and his own charm led to great personal popularity and a close understanding with Roosevelt; he died on December 11, 1940, after a speech pleading for better relations between the two countries he loved. Perhaps the definitive biography of a sometimes erratic but always honest man who loved humanity and cared nothing for wealth, this solidly written book will appeal to scholars and students of 20th Century British politics and international relations. American readers may at times find it heavy going.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1960
Publisher: St. Martin's Press