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 (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