Curzon: The Last Phase, 1919-1925

Harold Nicolson
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ISBN 9780571258925 Format Paperback
Published 21/01/2010 Length 434 pages

About Book

In Harold Nicolson's own words 'This study of Lord Curzon represents the third volume of a trilogy on British diplomacy covering the years from 1870 to 1924. The first volume of that trilogy was a biography entitled Lord Carnock: A Study in the Old Diplomacy. The second volume was a critical survey of the Paris conference called Peacemaking, 1919.' All three volumes are reissued in Faber Finds.
Curzon himself, not a modest man it must be admitted, rated highly the work of his final years. In his 'Literary Testament' dictated only a few hours before his death he said, 'As to my work as Foreign Secretary from 1918 to 1924 - a period of unparalleled difficulty in international affairs and of great personal worry and sometimes tribulation . . . - I court the fullest publicity as to my conduct in those anxious years and can imagine no better justification than the publication of any or all the telegrams, despatches, minutes and records of interviews for which I was responsible.'

Some of the chapter headings alone remind us of what an eventful period it was: Armistice, The Eastern Question, Smyrna, Persia, Egypt, Reparation, Chanak and Lausanne.

It is perhaps a pity that Harold Nicolson didn't write the official biography of Lord Curzon (he was a candidate) but what we have here is a work that is, in the words of David Gilmour, another biographer of Curzon, 'acute, jaunty, readable and sympathetic.'

  • About Harold Nicolson

    Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) was a man of manifold talents: a diplomat, politician, journalist, broadcaster, historian, biographer, diarist, novelist, lecturer, literary critic, essayist and gardener. Perhaps most celebrated for his Diaries (reissued by Faber Finds in their original three volumes), they run the risk of obscuring the excellence of his other books. He wrote over thirty: Some People, Sir Arthur Nicolson, Peacemaking, 1919, Curzon, The Last Phase, 1919-1925, and The Congress of Vienna are all being reissued in Faber Finds.

    Harold Nicolson was educated at Wellington and at Balliol College, Oxford. He joined the Foreign Office in 1909, and in 1913 married the writer Vita Sackville-West. He was a member of the British delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. He left the Foreign Office in 1929, and in 1935 he was elected National Labour Member of Parliament for West Leicester. In 1940 he was appointed a Junior Minister in Churchill's wartime government.

    In his eulogy, John Sparrow, with affectionate aptness, described Harold Nicolson as 'a nineteenth-century Whig leading an eighteenth-century existence in the twentieth-century.'

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