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 "Lord Lothian",
a review by Carroll Quigley in The American Historical Review, Vol. 66 (Oct 1960 - Jul 1961),
of a book:
LORD LOTHIAN (PHILIP KERR), 1882-1940,
by J. R. M. Butler.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1960

 

"Lord Lothian"

 

 

LORD LOTHIAN (PHILIP KERR), 1882-1940.
By J. R. M. Butler.
New York: St Martin's Press. 1960. Pp. xiii, 384. $10.00.

 

   This authorized biography of Lord Lothian is based largely on manuscript materials including Lothian's own papers, many private letters provided by his associates, the Milner Papers at New College (used only scantily), some of the Round Table papers (here used for historical research for the first time), materials from the Rhodes Trust (including Frank Aydelotte's files), and a collection of biographical materials gathered by H. V. Hodson and kept at the Round Table office. The book provides an adequate summary of these materials, set in the historical framework and interpreted in a generally favorable way, except for some severe criticism of Lothian's support of appeasement. Lothian's public life was so brief that it hardly seems to justify a volume of 384 pages, although the last year was of great significance and is very well handled here. Of his private life we are given little except for an excellent account of his religious shift from Catholicism to Christian Science. At the end, however, the reader feels that he has not grasped the enigma of Philip Kerr. The book's major weakness lies in its neglect of that shadowy zone between public and private life where Lothian and his close associates usually worked. There is nothing new on his work as secretary to the Rhodes Trustees nor on his relations with Milner and his fellow "Kindergartners" in the Round Table organization. Butler knows that these people continued to hold their "Moots" to discuss public policy and he must be aware that they worked to influence policy by numerous private and anonymous pressures. He says nothing about the creation of seven overseas Round Table groups although he gives the names of three of their members. Little or nothing is said of the instruments through which these groups worked to mold public opinion, the use of periodicals such as The Times, The Observer, or the National Review, and the large number of academic chairs of history or politics whose nominating boards were dominated by Round Tablers. In general, Lothian's ideas are well presented, except for those on tropical Africa, which go back to his report to the Transvaal Indigency Commission of 1908. The ways in which he and his friends functioned and the fact that they devoted most of their lives to influencing public policy from behind the scenes are omitted. Lothian and his friends were much more significant persons than this book reveals.

-- Carroll Quigley
Georgetown School of Foreign Service

 

Scan of original review

 

 

 


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