Lord George Bentinck is an account of Disraeli's relation with his parliamentary colleague and friend. It is not simply an account of the battle over the Corn Laws with Sir Robert Peel, but a most remarkable book, extremely readable, and full of often quoted and apt comments and descriptions. As a vivid story of one of the great parliamentary dramas in British history it is unsurpassed. The portraits of both Bentinck and Peel are both sympathetic and just. The book provides insight into mid-nineteenth century parliamentary life that remains unsurpassed.
It is hard to overstate the bitterness and fury which Peel's decision to repeal the Corn Laws had provoked in British politics. One biographer of Disraeli, Robert Blake, spoke of "Home Rule in 1886 and Munich in 1938 as the nearest parallels". Friendships were sundered, families divided, and the feuds of politics carried into private life to a degree quite unusual in British history. Those who are interested in the details of parliamentary warfare which raged until Peel's fall from power should consult Lord George Bentinck.
But the worth of this book goes beyond constitutional history or even the Irish food famine. Disraeli helps explain the intellectual and ideological grounds of the Young England Movement: a conservative force that aimed at a union of discontented industrial workers with aristocratic landowners and against factious Whigs, selfish factory owners and dissenting shopkeepers. In forging such a policy of principle, the Conservatives, as Disraeli's book well demonstrates, became a minority party but one which carried the full weight of moral politics.