It is hard to overstate the bitterness and fury which Peel's decision to repeal the Corn Laws had provoked in British politics. One biographer of Disraeli, Robert Blake, spoke of "Home Rule in 1886 and Munich in 1938 as the nearest parallels". Friendships were sundered, families divided, and the feuds of politics carried into private life to a degree quite unusual in British history. Those who are interested in the details of parliamentary warfare which raged until Peel's fall from power should consult Lord George Bentinck.
But the worth of this book goes beyond constitutional history or even the Irish food famine. Disraeli helps explain the intellectual and ideological grounds of the Young England Movement: a conservative force that aimed at a union of discontented industrial workers with aristocratic landowners and against factious Whigs, selfish factory owners and dissenting shopkeepers. In forging such a policy of principle, the Conservatives, as Disraeli's book well demonstrates, became a minority party but one which carried the full weight of moral politics.
Dare to be a Daniel feelingly recalls Tony Benn's years as one of three brothers experiencing life in the nursery, the agonies of adolescence and of school, where boys were taught to 'keep their minds clean' and the shadow of fascism and the Second World War with its disruption and family loss. This moving memoir also describes his emergence from World War Two as a keen socialist about to embark upon marriage and an unknown political future. The book ends with some of Tony Benn's reflections on many of the most important and controversial issues of our time.