Aldous, Richard 1967–

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Aldous, Richard 1967–


Born July 11, 1967. Education: Cambridge University, Ph.D.


Office—School of History & Archives, Newman Bldg., University College of Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland. Agent—Capel & Land, Ltd., 29 Wardour St., London W1D 6PS, England. E-mail—[email protected]


Historian, educator, writer, and editor. University College of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, faculty member, 1995—, head of the School of History & Archives, 2006—. Also provides commentary on international affairs for Prime Time, Questions and Answers, RTE television news, RTE Radio 1, Newstalk 106, and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio 4 and 5.


Royal Historical Society (fellow).


Harold Macmillan and the Search for a Summit with the USSR, 1958-60, University of Cambridge (London, England), 1993.

(Editor, with Sabine Lee) Harold Macmillan and Britain's World Role, introduction by Sir Robert Rhodes James, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor, with Sabine Lee) Harold Macmillan: Aspects of a Political Life, foreword by Alistair Horne, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Tunes of Glory: The Life of Malcolm Sargent, Hutchinson (London, England), 2001.

Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War, Four Courts Press (Portland, OR), 2005.

The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2007.

Great Irish Speeches, Quercus (London, England), 2007.

Writes a weekly column for the Sunday Tribune; op-ed contributor and book reviewer for the Irish Times.


Richard Aldous is a scholar and educator whose research covers a wide range of subjects, including the history of international relations, modern British political and cultural history, and contemporary affairs, particularly American and British foreign policies. He has written a wide variety of books focusing on British leaders and American and British foreign policy, as well as a profile of one of Great Britain's most noted musical conductors.

Tunes of Glory: The Life of Malcolm Sargent looks at the life of the onetime popular British music celebrity and flamboyant personality. With full access to Sargent's private papers, the author tells Sargent's story from his working-class boyhood in the gasworks of Stamford, England, to his rise as the most popular conductor in England. In the process, Aldous explores the idea of celebrity and the English psyche.

"Aldous presents an intriguing insight into Sargent's private life," noted Christopher Fifield in a review on the MusicWeb International Web site. For example, the author delves into Sargent's troubled marriage and his extramarital affairs, along with his perpetual quest to rise in social status, to the point of disowning his parents. The author also chronicles Sargent's rise to stardom, his fall from grace with the public and, more importantly, with the musicians he conducted, and his return to popularity during World War II when Sargent defied air raids to conduct his orchestra. During the war, Sargent also had the opportunity to display his quick wit and humor to the public via radio programs. In another review on MusicWeb International, Stephen Lloyd commented that the author "has generally been extremely thorough in his research" and went on to write later in the same review that "Aldous has written a very readable and often entertaining book. It has many strengths and he rightly highlights what was probably Sargent's ‘finest hour’—the war period when he brought music to a Britain of blitzes and blackouts."

Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War examines the relationship between the British Prime Minister and the U.S. President as the two held a number of personal summits focusing on how to deal with issues concerning the Cold War with the Soviet Union, including the U-2 crisis and the acrimony of the 1960 Paris summit. In his book, the author focuses primarily on Macmillan as he examines how a "special relationship" evolved between the two men within the context of Anglo-American policy toward the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the author points out that Macmillan didn't get the personal relationship between leaders that he sought with Eisenhower. Rather, he achieved this relationship with subsequent U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Peter G. Boyle, writing in the Journal of British Studies, called Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War "a useful contribution to our understanding of an important phase in the development of the cold war." Booklist contributor Francis M. Carroll wrote that the author "begins with an excellent portrait of Macmillan and his unlikely rise to power in 1957."

The author's 2007 book The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli was called "a fine achievement both of history and of writing" by Richard Waghorne on The book looks at the nineteenth-century rivalry between British political leaders William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, both of whom served in the capacity of prime minister. According to the author, their intense mutual hatred was both ideologically driven and deeply personal, leading to numerous vitriolic duels carried out in the public arena over several decades. In his book, the author points out how this rivalry lends profound insight into the social and political currents that dominated Victorian England.

"The clash between Gladstone and Disraeli is part of … [Britain's] national story," the author writes in the prologue to The Lion and the Unicorn. "In fact, such is its centrality to a time when Britain was the world's leading power, it is surprising that there has been no earlier attempt to write a book on their relationship."

In his book about the two political leaders, the author recreates the often vicious rivalry and profiles both Disraeli, who was a legendary dandy descended from Sephardic Jews, and Gladstone, a conservative aristocrat. "Each man is fascinating in his own right," noted Waghorne. "For all his conservatism Disraeli was no flinty reactionary but a strikingly exotic and elusive character, whose slightly mysterious air did no harm at all to his romantically nostalgic brand of politics." Waghorne further described Gladstone as someone who "mixed a sternly puritan ethic which he persistently failed to live up to with a social austerity and coldness."

In addition to their rivalry, Aldous also provides a look at how the two men handled the country's affairs during a time of transition in the economy and, as a result, helped lead the British empire to wide accomplishments and prominence. Although primarily concerned with the two men's sometimes outlandish behaviors and diatribes against each other, the author also delves into their views and debates concerning the issues of the times, including the Repeal of the Corn Laws, the Great Famine of Ireland, and various reform bills.

Jane Ridley, writing in the Spectator, commented that the "book grows on one, partly because it's a very good read and also because he suggests a startling reworking of traditional views." Ridley noted that the author changes the typical historical view of both men. For example, the author raises the reputation of Disraeli, who was long thought to be intellectually inferior to Gladstone, while shedding new light on Gladstone's character as, according to Ridley, a "bully hated by his party and prone to fits of ungovernable rage."

The Lion and the Unicorn received many favorable reviews. "What Mr. Aldous presents, quite entertainingly, is a dual character study and a blow-by-blow account of two warriors engaged in hand-to-hand combat for the better part of their lifetimes," wrote William Grimes in the New York Times Book Review. A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to the book as "a rousing portrait of 19th-century England's most venomous political rivalry, featuring a highly readable exploration into the dueling natures of two powerful men."



Aldous, Richard, The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2007.


Booklist, August 1, 2007, Jay Freeman, review of The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli, p. 28.

Canadian Journal of History, autumn, 2006, Francis M. Carroll, review of Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War, p. 451.

Choice, May, 2006, P. Scherer, review of Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War, p. 1666.

English Historical Review, April, 2006, S.J. Ball, review of Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War, p. 644.

Journal of British Studies, April, 2006, Peter G. Boyle, review of Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War, p. 484.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2007, review of The Lion and the Unicorn.

National Review, January 28, 2008, Arthur Herman, "Cradle of the System," review of The Lion and the Unicorn, p. 54.

New Statesman, January 8, 2007, Douglas Hurd, "In the Battle Royal," review of The Lion and the Unicorn, p. 50.

New York Times Book Review, September 19, 2007, William Grimes, "Two Victorian-Era Enemies, Just Made for Each Other," review of The Lion and the Unicorn.

Political Studies, March, 2001, Brian Brivati, review of Harold Macmillan: Aspects of a Political Life, p. 151.

Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2007, review of The Lion and the Unicorn, p. 71.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 1999, review of Harold Macmillan, p. 27; November, 2005, review of Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War; February, 2008, review of The Lion and the Unicorn.

Spectator, December 16, 2006, Jane Ridley, "The Straight Man and the Courtier," review of The Lion and the Unicorn.

Times Literary Supplement, August 24, 2001, John Gardiner, review of Tunes of Glory: The Life of Malcolm Sargent, p. 28; July 15, 2005, Richard Davenport-Hines, review of Macmillan, Eisenhower and the Cold War, p. 28; February 16, 2007, Peter G.R. Jones "Teeth and Smiles," review of The Lion and the Unicorn, p. 26.


Capel & Land, (June 19, 2008), brief profile of author.

Metroactive, (October 17, 2007), Michael S. Gant, review of The Lion and the Unicorn.

MusicWeb International, (June 19, 2008), Stephen Lloyd, review of Tunes of Glory; Christopher Fifield, review of Tunes of Glory.

My Individual Take (on the Subject), (January 1, 2008), review of The Lion and the Unicorn., (June 19, 2008), Richard Waghorne, review of The Lion and the Unicorn.

University College Dublin, (June 19, 2008), faculty profile of author.