What Sisters and Oblates Are Reading


by Andre Maurois
Easton Press

Sister Placida Anheuser

Disraeli: a picture of the Victorian Age, the title of this 5-star biography, may seem familiar but puzzling. Detach the letter D and you have the very well-known word, "Israeli"!

Born Jewish, Benjamin Disraeli, along with parents and siblings, was baptized into the Anglican faith at age 14. This enabled "Dizzy" to pursue a future career in English politics, which was open only to Christians and the Aristocracy. His claim to "Aristocracy" came much later!

In the book's foreword, our Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan writes, "Disraeli's life is enchanting in politics, as few are, or perhaps can be! He was a novelist of the first rank, a wit, an aphorist..."

Wikipedia has a fascinating, mile-long scroll on his accomplishments. Replete with sketches, portraits and colored political cartoons which depict his dazzling career as a two term Prime Minister under Queen Victoria.

During his ministry Victoria bestowed on him the title "Lord Beaconsfield" and showered him with many other gifts, considering him as necessary to her as had been the polished Lord Melbourne in her first years as Queen. She found delight not just in Disraeli's service, but in their mutual and very close friendship. An astounding relationship.

As he lay dying, Victoria, unable to visit him in person due to court protocol, sent him a handwritten message by her secretary, which pleaded: "Don't die, we need you"!

In the next season of Masterpiece's "Victoria," I hope to see a reincarnation of the exciting original "Dizzy," wearing his youthful "embroidered coats, white gloved fingers covered with flashing rings and carrying one of his morning or evening canes"‒to the astonishment of his friends, peers and rivals! And hopefully to us, his TV viewers!!

The Victorian Age, coming after the French Revolution, and before the First World War, introduced the world to the Industrial Revolution.

This small review is just a surface swipe over an immense well of historical facts, personalities and political dramas. The book, an acclaimed masterwork, reveals it all!

What a tonic to our present predicaments!

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