'Superb, beautifully written, touching and occasionally very funny' Andrew Roberts
David Gilmour's superb biography of Rudyard Kipling is the first to show how the life and work of the great writer mirrored the trajectory of the British Empire, from its zenith to its final decades. His famous poem 'Recessional' celebrated Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, but his last poems warned of the dangers of Nazism, and in those intervening years Kipling, himself an icon of the Empire, was transformed from an apostle of success to a prophet of national decline. As Gilmour makes clear, Kipling's mysterious stories and poetry deeply influenced the way his readers saw both themselves and the British Empire, and they continue to challenge us today.
'A fine, fair and generous work ... Gilmour's celebrated life of Curzon demonstrated his mastery of imperial nuance and esoteric character, and he brings to this book just the right combination of empathy, distaste and
fastidious detachment ... there is never a flaccid line, and never a hasty judgement' Jan Morris, New Statesman
'Every now and again a book comes along that sheds new light on a life we thought we knew. David Gilmour's beautifully-written biography of Rudyard Kipling is just such a work ... This is literary biography at its very finest' George Rosie, Sunday Herald
'An enthralling biography of a mind ... essential reading for anyone who cares about how a writer finds, and passionately lives, his subject' Ruth Padel, Daily Telegraph
'The best Kipling biography yet written ... Gilmour's account of this driven man shines with intelligence' J. B. Pick, Scotsman