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The Insatiable Earl, A Life of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich

Christian Hesketh reviews

Christian Hesketh | Published in
  • The Insatiable Earl, A Life of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich H.A.M. Rodger (Harper Collins, 1993, 425 pp.)

No-one could be better qualified than Nicholas Rodger to write the biography of the 4th Earl of Sandwich In several previous works, of which The Wooden World is probably the best known, he has established himself as an authority on the organisation and development of the Royal Navy in the eighteenth century. The Insatiable Earl can only add to his reputation. Not only is it a work of scholarship, it is also a tribute to a distinguished public servant whose achievements, hitherto, have been largely ignored. Instead, legend has supplied us with the caricature of a profligate eighteenth-century peer whose mistress was murdered on the steps of the Admiralty. As Mr Rodger himself points out, the only reference to Sandwich in Chambers Biographical Dictionary is 'a corrupt politician remembered as the inventor of sandwiches, to eat at the gaming table'. There was much more to him than that, the author argues, and after reading his biography, one can only agree.

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