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John Wilkes

The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty

  • Arthur H. Cash
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Out of Print.


Named a Best Book of 2006 by Library Journal

Selected by as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2007 by Choice Magazine

Finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Biography

http://www.meromero.com/arthur

One of the most colorful figures in English political history, John Wilkes (1726–97) is remembered as the father of the British free press, defender of civil and political liberties, and hero to American colonists, who attended closely to his outspoken endorsements of liberty. Wilkes’s political career was rancorous, involving duels, imprisonments in the Tower of London, and the Massacre of St. George’s Fields in which seven of his supporters were shot to death by government troops. He was equally famous for his “private” life—a confessed libertine, a member of the notorious Hellfire Club, and the author of what has been called the dirtiest poem in the English language.

This lively biography draws a full portrait of John Wilkes from his childhood days through his heyday as a journalist and agitator, his defiance of government prosecutions for libel and obscenity, his fight against exclusion from Parliament, and his service as lord mayor of London on the eve of the American Revolution. Told here with the force and immediacy of a firsthand newspaper account, Wilkes’s own remarkable story is inseparable from the larger story of modern civil liberties and how they came to fruition.

Arthur H. Cash is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of English, State University of New York at New Paltz, and biographer of Laurence Sterne.

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