A Dictionary of Political Biography

A Dictionary of Political Biography

A Dictionary of Political Biography

A Dictionary of Political Biography

Synopsis

From Churchill, Stalin, and Kennedy, to Blair, Clinton and Mandela, A Dictionary of Political Biography covers all the major figures in world politics of the twentieth century. Compiled by an expert team of contributors under the editorship of Dennis Kavanagh, this new dictionary contains over 1,000 entries which describe and assess the lives of the men and women who have shaped political events across the world. Each entry includes an account of the background, career, and achievements of the individual concerned, balancing fact with critical appraisal. Including entries on Idi Amin, Yasser Arafat, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Slobadan Milosevic, Francois Mitterrand, Mary Robinson, and Mao Zedong, A Dictionary of Political Biography is an indispensable and authoritative reference for anyone interested in twentieth-century history and politics.

Excerpt

A dictionary of political biography is a work of reference. Its 1,000 entries describe and assess the lives of the men and women who have shaped political events across the world during the twentieth century. Each entry marries description with analysis and includes an account of the background, career, and achievements of the individual concerned. We have sought a careful balance of fact and critical appraisal. An asterisk (*) before a surname indicates that the person has received an entry in the volume. For all but a handful of entries we have supplied dates of birth and, where appropriate, death. In a few cases our best endeavours have not produced the data.

We had criteria for selection but these were not applied rigidly. We have included only political figures whose main activity took place after 1900. This means that Lord Salisbury, who served as British Prime Minister until 1902, and William McKinley, who was US President in 1900, are omitted, because the greater parts of their political careers took place almost entirely in the nineteenth century. We have covered all the principal office-holders for a number of countries, e.g. all US presidents and vice-presidents, all British prime ministers, chancellors of the exchequer, and foreign secretaries, all USSR Communist Party leaders, all German chancellors, and a large proportion of presidents and prime ministers in the French Fourth and Fifth Republics. Beyond that we have been more selective and chosen office-holders on the basis of their importance in their countries.

The emphasis is on elected politicians. Unless they were also political office-holders we have omitted party organizers, political thinkers and commentators, civil servants, and members of the judiciary. The omission does not belittle their political significance -- who could deny the importance of a Keynes or a Hayek? The primary focus is, however, on politicians.

There will of course be criticisms of some of our selections and some of our omissions. Our defence is that we have done what we have done and used our best judgement.

I am indebted to many for helping to bring this dictionary to publication, not least to the contributors and the patience and cheerfulness of April Pidgeon, my secretary at Nottingham University, and Alison Ross and Yvonne Janvier at Liverpool University.

As the volume was going to press the editor and publisher learnt of the death of a major contributor, Professor Peter Morris of Aston University. As a colleague at Nottingham, Peter had provided me with encouragement and wise advice in the early stages of planning the dictionary.

D. K. University of Liverpool June 1997 . . .

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