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Cymdeithas Lloyd George - Lloyd George Society

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Useful list of books about Lloyd George and Liberal Politics


LG as Chancellor

David Lloyd George (1863 -1945) was one of the most significant politicians of the 20th century. He was Liberal MP for Caernarfon Boroughs from 1890 until 1945 when he was created Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor and Viscount Gwynedd. He was President of the Board of Trade (1905-08), Chancellor of the Exchequer (1908-1915), Minister of Munitions (1915-July 1916), Secretary for War (July-December 1916) and Prime Minister (1916-1922). In the later 1920s he reinvigorated the Liberal Party through his advocacy of radical social, economic and industrial policies.

As Winston Churchill was acclaimed the great war leader of the Second World War, so Lloyd George was hailed as the great war leader of the First and unlike Churchill, Lloyd George won the general election held after his war. Lloyd George's political reputation is based upon his rising from modest origins (although he did like to overplay this) to the highest position in the land, his championing of Wales in British politics, his principled stand against the Boer War, his support for the New Liberalism of social reform and welfare expanding the role of the state and the impact on the British constitution arising from the clash between Lords and Commons over his People's Budget. Apart from his war leadership, perhaps he was not among the top rank of Prime Ministers and his reputation was diminished later through his association with the sale of honours, his infidelities in marriage and political misjudgements about the Black and Tans in Ireland, appeasement and Hitler. Nevertheless he remains a towering and dynamic figure in Welsh, British and Liberal history and he is probably the most important Liberal politician of the 20th century.

What is included in the bibliography

The following is not an exhaustive list of all the books or contributions to published works about Lloyd George, his family and his politics - of which there are hundreds. It tries to include all the books whose content and scholarship has not been wholly overtaken or superseded by new research or newly published material; books from which there is still something fresh to be taken, even if they were published many years ago.

Most of the books should be reasonably accessible. They should be in print, in libraries or capable of being obtained through inter-library loan. Of those no longer in print many will be available to buy second hand through booksellers on the Internet.

Academic articles have not been included, except those published in the Journal of Liberal History a number of which will be freely downloadable from the website of the Liberal Democrat History Group.

David Lloyd George was such an important figure in 20th century politics that the general histories of the relevant period, works about political parties other than the Liberals, biographies of his contemporaries, diaries and memoirs of politicians of the time contain many references to him as even a quick look through the indexes of such books will demonstrate. However this bibliography concentrates on books written directly about Lloyd George and his family or it would be never ending.

There are probably books that are not included but which should have been and some older publications that should not be on the list - perhaps that can be taken care of in a later version and perhaps academic articles may be able to be included at a later point too. Meanwhile, there is enough to be going on with.

1. Single volume biographies of David Lloyd George

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There is no single volume account of Lloyd George's life that has established itself at the head of the field. Two recently published books about Lloyd George have both however been well received. The first is David Lloyd George by Emyr Price (University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 2006) the first publication in the series Celtic Radicals, which looks at the subject from a specifically Welsh context. The other is Lloyd George, by Hugh Purcell, in the series Prime Ministers of the 20th Century (Haus Publishing, London, 2006), which has been well received. It is written, as are all the other books in the series, to a standard format of 176 pages with three illustrations.

A single volume work, Lloyd George:The Great Outsider, by former Labour cabinet minister Roy Hattersley was published in September 2010 by Little, Brown. Hattersley has written a number of histories of the early 20th century, including a biography of Henry Campbell-Bannerman in the Haus series on British prime ministers (2006) and The Edwardians (2004), a popular, narrative of the period which received positive reviews. Hattersley's 2010 book has the potential to establish itself as the standard single volume work on Lloyd George but we have to await the critical, academic reviews.

For older single volume accounts there are:

Basil Murray, L.G. (Sampson Low, London, 1932)

Kenneth O Morgan, David Lloyd George, 1863-1945 (Cardiff University Press, Cardiff, 1981)

Martin Pugh, Lloyd George (Longmans, London, 1988)

Peter Rowland, Lloyd George (Barrie & Jenkins, London,1975)

Malcolm Thomson, David Lloyd George: The Official Biography (Hutchinson, London, 1948) - now superseded official work but written with the collaboration of Frances Stevenson

Chris Wrigley, Lloyd George (Blackwell, Oxford, 1992)

There is also Martin Gilbert (ed), Lloyd George (Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1968) in the series Great Lives Observed it includes vignettes of Lloyd George by academics and politicians etc.

2. Multi-volume works

The most comprehensive account of Lloyd George's life down to 1918 is the four-volume biography by John Grigg (published by Penguin, London between 1973-2002), The Young Lloyd George; Lloyd George: The People's Champion, 1902-1911; Lloyd George: From Peace to War, 1912-1916; Lloyd George, War Leader, 1916-1918. Unfortunately John Grigg died just before the fourth volume was published, so if the series is to continue, authorship must pass to someone else.

Bentley B Gilbert has published a substantial two-volume biography; David Lloyd George: The Architect of Change, 1863-1912 (Batsford, London, 1987) and David Lloyd George: The Organiser of Victory, 1912-1916 (Batsford, London, 1992).

3. Books about aspects of Lloyd George's life and career

Movie mystery

R J Q Adams, Arms and the Wizard: Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions, 1915-1916 (Cassell, London, 1978)

Lord Beaverbrook,

- The Decline and Fall of Lloyd George: And Great Was the Fall Thereof (Collins, London, 1963)

- Men and Power, 1917-1918 (Hutchinson, London, 1956) - two entertaining if perhaps unreliable volumes of reminiscences by a fellow big cat

David Berry and Simon Horrocks, David Lloyd George, The Movie Mystery (University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1998) - the story of the silent film made in 1918 but which was lost and not screened until 1996

John Campbell, Lloyd George: the Goat in the Wilderness, 1922-1931 (Gregg Revivals, Aldershot, 1993)

Tom Clarke, My Lloyd George Diary, (Methuen, London, 1939) - recollections of former editor of the News Chronicle

Don Cregier, Bounder from Wales, Lloyd George's career before the First World War, (University of Missouri Press, London, 1976)

Stephen Constantine, Lloyd George, (Routledge, London, 1991): essay focussing on Lloyd George and social reform

Cameron Hazlehurst, Politicians at War, July 1914-May 1915: A Prologue to the Triumph of Lloyd George (Jonathan Cape, London, 1971)

Thomas Jones, Whitehall Diary, Volume 1: 1916-1925 (Oxford University Press, 1969) - Jones was Lloyd George's Cabinet Secretary

Michael Kinnear, The Fall of Lloyd George: The Political Crisis of 1922 (Macmillan, London, 1973)

Michael Lynch, Lloyd George and the Liberal Dilemma, (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1993) in the series Personalities and Powers

Judith Loades (ed), The Life and Times of David Lloyd George (Headstart History, Bangor, 1991) - a collection of 12 essays by various academics each examining a different topic

Kenneth O Morgan, Consensus and Disunity, The Lloyd George Coalition 1918-1922 (Clarendon, Oxford, 1979)

Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey (Hutchinson, London, 1954) - friendly account by former journalist and Liberal MP

Ian Packer, Lloyd George, Liberalism and the Land: the land issue and party politics in England, 1906-1914 (Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press, London, 2001)

Andrew Suttie, Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy 1914-18 (Palgrave, 2005)

The Earl of Swinton, Sixty Years of Power (Hutchinson, 1966) - contains a chapter about working in Cabinet with Lloyd George

A J P Taylor, Lloyd George: Twelve Essays (Hamilton, London, 1971) - by various experts looking at a different aspect of Lloyd George's career

John Turner, Lloyd George's Secretariat (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1980) in the series Cambridge studies in the history and theory of politics

Chris Wrigley, David Lloyd George and the British Labour Movement: peace and war (Harvester Press, Hassocks, 1976)

4. Lloyd George and Churchill

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Robert Lloyd George, David & Winston: How a Friendship Changed History (John Murray, London, 2005)

John Grigg, Churchill and Lloyd George in Robert Blake & Wm Roger Louis, Churchill (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993)

Marvin Rintala, Lloyd George and Churchill: How Friendship Changed Politics (Madison Books, Lanham, Maryland, 1995)

Richard Toye, Lloyd George & Churchill: Rivals for Greatness (Macmillan, London, 2007)

5. Lloyd George and Foreign Policy

Richard S Grayson, Liberals, International Relations and Appeasement (Frank Cass, London, 2001)

Antony Lentin,

- Guilt at Versailles: Lloyd George and the pre-history of Appeasement (Methuen, London, 1985)

- Lloyd George and the Lost Peace: From Versailles to Hitler, 1919-1940 (Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2001)

Margaret MacMillan, Peacemakers: the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and its attempt to end war (John Murray, London, 2001) - magisterial summation of the conference including Lloyd George's central role

A J P Taylor, From the Boer War to the Cold War: Essays on Twentieth Century Europe (Penguin, London, 1996) - see in particular essays entitled Politics in the First World War, Lloyd George: Rise and Fall, Distressful Country, Saving Lloyd George's Soul

Alan Sharp, David Lloyd George, Great Britain in the series Makers of the Modern World: The Peace Conferences of 1919-23 and their aftermath (Haus Histories, Haus Publishing, London 2008)

6. Books about the Liberal Party and British politics featuring Lloyd George's role

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Paul Adelman, The Decline of the Liberal Party, 1910-1931 (Longman, London, 1986 - Seminar Studies in History series)

Chris Cook, The Age of Alignment: Electoral Politics in Britain, 1922-1929 (Macmillan, London, 1975)

Don Cregier, Chiefs without Indians: Asquith, Lloyd George and the Liberal Remnant (Washington, DC, University Press of America, 1982) - leaders and led in the Liberal Party

George Dangerfield, The Strange Death of Liberal England (Serif, London, 1997) - originally published in 1935, it remains a classic piece of historical literature but dubious history today

Edward David (ed), Inside Asquith's Cabinet: From the Diaries of Charles Hobhouse (John Murray, London, 1977) - diary entries of a Liberal minister covering his time in government with Lloyd George, including his becoming prime minister

Kenneth O Morgan,

- The Age of Lloyd George: The Liberal Party and British Politics, 1890-1929 (Allen & Unwin, London, 1971) - in the series Historical Problems, Studies and Documents

- Wales in British Politics, 1868-1922 (University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1963)

Ian Packer, Liberal Government and Politics, 1905-15 (Palgrave, 2006)

Peter Rowland,

- The Last Liberal Governments: The Promised Land, 1905-1910 (Barrie & Rockliff, The Cresset Press, London, 1968)

- The Last Liberal Governments: Unfinished Business, 1911-1914 (Barrie & Jenkins, London, 1971)

Trevor Wilson,

- The Downfall of the Liberal Party (Collins, London, 1966) - the impact of the First World War and the Lloyd George-Asquith split

- The Political Diaries of C P Scott, 1911-1928 (Collins, London, 1970) - diaries of the editor of the Manchester Guardian during Lloyd George's rise to become prime minister and his time in government

7. Books about and by Lloyd George's family and circle

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John Campbell, If Love Were All…. The Story of Frances Stevenson and David Lloyd George (Jonathan Cape, London, 2006)

Olwen Carey Evans, Lloyd George was my father (Gomer Press, Llandysul, 1985) - the autobiography of Lady Olwen Carey Evans as told to Mary Garner

Colin Cross (ed), Life with Lloyd George, The Diary of A J Sylvester, 1931-45 (Macmillan, London, 1975) - personal recollections of Lloyd George's private secretary)

W R P George,

- The Making of Lloyd George (Faber and Faber, London, 1976)

- Lloyd George, Backbencher (Gower Press, Llandysul, 1983)

- 2 books by the solicitor nephew of David Lloyd George, a former Archdruid of Wales and Vice President of Plaid Cymru

William George, My Brother and I (Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1958)

Ffion Hague, The Pain and the Privilege: the Women in Lloyd George's Life -(HarperPress, London, 2008)

Mervyn Jones, A Radical Life: the Biography of Megan Lloyd George, 1902-1966 (Hutchinson, London, 1991)

Frances Lloyd George, The Years that Are Past (Hutchinson, London, 1967)

Richard Lloyd George, Lloyd George (Muller, London, 1960) - a personal account of his father's life

Ruth Longford, Frances, Countess Lloyd George: More then a Mistress (Gracewing, Leominster, 1996) - by the granddaughter of Frances Stevenson

Kenneth O Morgan (ed), Lloyd George, family letters 1885-1936 (Cardiff University Press, Cardiff, 1973)

A J Sylvester, The Real Lloyd George (Cassell, London, 1947) - more from Lloyd George's long serving private secretary

A J P Taylor (ed),

- Lloyd George, A Diary by Frances Stevenson (Hutchinson, London, 1971)

-My Darling Pussy: the letters of Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson, 1913-1941 (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 1976)

8. Books written by David Lloyd George

War Memoirs

Through Terror to Triumph (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1915)

War Memoirs, 2 volumes (Odhams Press, London, 1938) - first published in six volumes between 1933-36

The Truth about the Peace Treaties, 2 volumes (Victor Gollancz, London, 1938)

9. Lloyd George's speeches

Duncan Brack & Tony Little, Great Liberal Speeches (Politico's, London, 2001) - pp 258-276 contain three of Lloyd George's most significant speeches on (i) the People's Budget, 1909 (ii) We Can Conquer Unemployment, 1929 (iii) the Norway Debate, 1940


Philip Guedalla (ed), Slings and Arrows: Sayings chosen from the speeches of the Rt. Hon, David Lloyd George (Cassell, London, 1929)

10. General histories of the Liberal Party covering the Lloyd George era

Chris Cook, A Short History of the Liberal Party, 1900-2001 (Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2002)

Roy Douglas, Liberals: A History of the Liberal and Liberal Democrat Parties (Hambledon & London, London, 2005) - updates Douglas' previous history of the Liberal Party published in 1971

David Dutton, A history of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2004)

G R Searle, The Liberal Party: Triumph and Disintegration, 1886-1929 (Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1992) - part of the British History in Perspective series

11.Essays and vignettes in other published works

Peter Clarke, A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1991) - see in particular Chapter 4, Asquith and Lloyd George: Misalliances

Michael Foot, Loyalists and Loners (Collins, London, 1986) - in particular chapter entitled David Lloyd George but note references in some other essays

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David Marquand, The Progressive Dilemma, From Lloyd George to Blair (Phoenix Giant, London, 1999) - see in particular Chapters 1 - 5

Robert Skidelsky, Interests & Obsessions (Macmillan, London & Basingstoke, 1993 - see in particular chapters entitled Lloyd George, Life with Sylvester and Life with Pussy

Chris Wrigley (ed), British Prime Ministers & other essays by A J P Taylor (Penguin, London, 1999) - see in particular 2 chapters on Lloyd George, pp 41-50 and 94-100

Two essays by J M Keynes, who wrote the classic (if contested) critique of the Paris Peace Conference, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, which damned the Peace as unfair and too harsh on Germany, are still worth visiting for their liveliness and forensic analysis of the role of Lloyd George. They appear in Essays in Biography, first published in March 1933 but re-printed by Mercury Books in 1961.

Lloyd George and Welsh Liberalism, published in 2010 by the National Library of Wales, is a collection of nearly thirty articles and essays written by Dr J Graham Jones, the Head of the Welsh Political Archive at the National Library. The articles were published in various scholarly journals between 1982-2001 and deal with aspects of LG's career, life and his influence from the 1880s until beyond his death.

12. Dictionary entries

John Grigg, Albert James Sylvester in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)

J Graham Jones,

- David Lloyd George in Brack and Randall (eds) the Dictionary of Liberal Thought (Politico's Methuen, London, 2007)

- Megan Lloyd George in Brack et al (eds) the Dictionary of Liberal Biography (Politico's, London, 1998)

Kenneth O Morgan,

- David Lloyd George in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)

- Frances Louise Lloyd George (nee Stevenson) in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)

- Gwilym Lloyd George in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)

- Megan Arfon Lloyd George in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)

Keith Robbins, David Lloyd George in The Blackwell Biographical Dictionary of British Political Life in the 20th Century (Blackwell, Oxford, 1990)

Andrew Sweeting, Gwilym Lloyd-George in Brack et al (eds) the Dictionary of Liberal Biography (Politico's, London, 1998)

Chris Wrigley, David Lloyd George in Brack et al (eds) the Dictionary of Liberal Biography (Politico's, London, 1998)

13. Articles published in the Journal of Liberal History

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Asquith and Lloyd George: common misunderstandings by John Grigg: Issue 10, March 1996

The Fall of the Lloyd George Coalition: report of meeting with Margaret Macmillan, Andrew Thorpe, John Barnes and Stuart Ball by Graham Lippiatt: Issue 41, Winter 2003

Lloyd George and the Conservative Party - Lessons of the past for the 'Third Way' by Jim Thorne: Issue 23, Summer 1999

Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson, the Surrey-Sussex dimension: their connections with these counties by Ian Ivatt: Issue 46, Spring 2005

Lloyd George and the Great War - "Through terror to triumph:" Lloyd George's Queens Hall speech of September 1914 by J Graham Jones: Issue 42, Spring 2004

Lloyd George and the partition of Ireland, 1918-1921: analysis of Lloyd George's answer to the Irish Question after the Easter Rising by Roy Douglas: Issue 33, Winter 2002-03

"Liberal Unity frustrated": the Asquith-Lloyd George split in the Liberal Party by Nick Cott: Issue 32 Autumn 2001

Lloyd George and the suffragettes at Llanystumdwy: a re-examination of the reopening by Lloyd George in September 1912 of the village institute at his native Llanystumdwy, when the proceedings were blighted by constant suffragette interruptions by J Graham Jones: Issue 34/35, Spring/Summer 2002

"The Real Lloyd George:" an examination of Sylvester's classic semi-biographical work, an assessment of its impact and reactions to its content and influence by J Graham Jones: Issue 51, Summer 2006

"A real triumph for my old friend": The occasion when 'The Times' took at face value an imaginary interview with David Lloyd George by J Graham Jones: Issue 40, Autumn 2003

"Life with Lloyd George" an examination of the preparation, publication and impact of A J Sylvester's 1975 book which drew on extracts from Sylvester's diaries between 1931 and 1945 by J Graham Jones: Issue 55, Summer 2007

14. Published guides to Lloyd Georges' papers

J Graham Jones, Lloyd George Papers at the National Library of Wales and Other Repositories (National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2001)

Cameron Hazlehurst & Sally Whitehead with Christine Woodland, A Guide to the Papers of British Cabinet Ministers, 1900-1964 (Cambridge University Press for the Royal Historical Society, London, 1996) - see entries for David Lloyd George and Gwilym Lloyd George (1st Viscount Tenby)