A. L. Rowse proclaimed himself a genius and raged against the slightest criticism from fellow scholars; he was a Marxist who despised the 'Idiot People'; he could be generous and affectionate yet hurled insults at his friends; he inveighed against Puritanism but was himself in many ways a Puritan.

In this clear-sighted and absorbing biography, Richard Ollard examines the many sides of Rowse's Protean personality to reveal a man who, whatever he was responding to--public affairs, the arts, natural beauty or events in his personal life--did so with tremendous energy and passion.


"An urbane study of the celebrated historian." -Antonia Fraser, Daily Mail

"Strikes a perfect balance between the Jekyll Rowse and the Hyde Rowse." -Bevis Hillier, Spectator

"Excellent." -Katherine Duncan-Jones, TLS