John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty

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Often deemed the founder of British radicalism, John Wilkes (1725-1797) had a shattering impact on the politics of his time. His audacity in challenging government authority was matched by his skill and determination in attaining his objectives: the freedom of the press to criticize ministers and report Parliament; enhanced security for individuals and their property from arbitrary arrest and seizure; and the rights of electors. That he was a political maverick, of witty and wicked reputation, has led historians to underestimate him - this is the first researched biography since 1917. Contemporaries appreciated his achievements more than posterity, one obituarist writing that 'his name will be connected with our history'. In this fascinating and original biography, Peter Thomas provides an intriguing portrait of the man George III referred to as 'that Devil, Wilkes'.