‘This captivating, ground-breaking book firmly re-establishes Lord Haldane in the national consciousness as a remarkable statesman of the early twentieth century. Many of his innovations are still flourishing today, and his thoughts on statecraft have much to teach our leaders.’

— Sir Anthony Seldon British political biographer, historian and vice chancellor University of Buckingham

‘A labour of love. Haldane is rescued from “the condescension of posterity”, his achievement in war and peace is finally recognised, and his rightful place in history is secured.’

— The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, PC Hon FRSE former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

‘An outstanding biography that will have Haldane recognised, at long last, as one of our very greatest twentieth-century statesmen.’

— Sir Malcolm Rifkind, KCMG KC former UK Secretary of State for Defence and Foreign Secretary

‘Few if any of today’s public figures can stand comparison with Haldane, architect of so much of what we take for granted in our government and civic society. Campbell’s account summons back to life this giant of public administration.’

— Professor Sir David Omand GCB former Director of GCHQ and Home Office Permanent Secretary

‘We should thank John Campbell and we should thank Haldane. Haldane saw what our country needed and he quietly and brilliantly introduced those changes and creations, many of which are still with us. We in intelligence, and many others, are much indebted to Haldane. Mr Campbell tells us why.’

— Sir Colin McColl KCMG former chief of MI6

‘A refreshing and compelling new biography of the leading philosopher-statesman of modern Britain. Haldane has had enormous influence, not least in re-organising the British Army to prevent a quick German victory in 1914, as well as in developing British education, the security services and the machinery of modern government.’

— Martin Pugh former Professor of History, Newcastle University, and author of The Making of Modern British Politics

‘A remarkably intimate story of an exceptional man who created the British Army of 1914. These carefully considered reforms, resolutely fought for by Haldane in 1907, saved the nation from defeat.’

— Major-General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO former commander Household Division, British Army

‘The debt the United Kingdom owes to Haldane is as great as to any other statesman of the first half of the twentieth century. John Campbell’s immensely readable study reminds us of the achievements of this extraordinary public servant. Haldane’s instinct to work constructively across the Party divide shows the importance of broad consensus in delivering lasting institutional reform. His search for long-term solutions to our country’s needs has never seemed more apposite.’

— Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury KG KCVO former Leader of the House of Lords

‘An immensely readable, painstakingly researched biography of a little-known polymath statesman to whom Britain is more indebted than it knows. In this Who’s Who of early-twentieth-century politics, Campbell delves deep into Haldane’s complex and fascinating personality, in so many ways ahead of his time. He makes his hero our hero.’

— Sir Peter Westmacott GCMG LVO former British Ambassador to Turkey, France and the United States

‘There is something perennially fascinating about the sensitive polymath. John Campbell has written a magisterial biography of such a figure—an immensely readable account of an extraordinary life. This is, quite simply, a triumph of the art of conveying the texture of human affairs and the events of an era. It is a major and lasting achievement.’

— Alexander McCall Smith CBE FRSE
Author and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law, University of Edinburgh

‘A meticulously researched life of Haldane which rightly defines him as the ultimate polymath. Haldane’s multiple achievements are a lesson to today’s politicians: that so much more can be achieved by reaching across party lines when searching for benign change. We have all forgotten how much our military, intelligence services, universities and research communities continue to benefit from Haldane’s impact, a century later. This work sets the record straight.’

— Sir David Cooksey GBE FRS former Chair of the Francis Crick Institute

‘I wish I could have read this as my guidebook before taking on my Prime Ministerial duties, back in 2009. Now I can only hope that current and future leaders will use their chance to do so.’

— Gordon Bajnai former Prime Minister of Hungary

‘A truly superb book. Not only is it a remarkable biography of an extraordinary life, it also provides important insights into Haldane’s role in laying the foundations of the British university system. It traces how his education in Scotland and Germany moulded his beliefs about the purpose of life and the capacity of universities to inspire minds that contribute to the intellectual advancement and well-being of society. A profoundly humane account of one of Britain’s most enlightened and influential, yet insufficiently recognised, reformers of the twentieth century.’

— Colin Mayer CBE FBA Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, Said Business School, University of Oxford

‘Impressively well-researched, wonderfully written and so obviously relevant to the present day.’

— Brendan Simms Professor in the History of International Relations, University of Cambridge, and author of Britain’s Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation

‘Most politicians would view themselves as an outstanding success if only one of Haldane’s reforms were credited to them. He transformed the British Army, brought into existence many of the great civic universities, and even proposed a Supreme Court 100 years ahead of his time. John Campbell brings Haldane to the front of the political stage, where he belongs, and details well his supreme intellect and political method, which has so much to teach for today’s politics.’

— The Rt. Hon. Baron Field of Birkenhead (Frank Field) DL PC former MP, Minister for Welfare Reform and Chair Work and Pensions Select Committee

‘The great sadness is that Richard Haldane was Chancellor of St Andrews, Scotland’s first university, for only two months before he died in August 1928. In inviting him to fill this key governing role, St Andrews knew it was appointing one of “the most powerful, subtle and encyclopaedic intellects ever devoted to the public service of his country”. This great and long overdue book explains why St Andrews was so keen to make him one of its own.’

— Sir Ewan Brown CBE FRSE former senior governor of the University of St Andrews

‘My Grandfather found Haldane to be unfailingly kind and in particular supported him in 1915 when Haldane lost Office. This book brings Haldane marvellously to life, centre stage on the then political map of Britain. It not only remarkably tells Haldane’s extraordinary and neglected story, but the exceptional images so cleverly illustrate his life and the turbulent times in which he lived. A must read.’

— The Rt Hon. Sir Nicholas Soames

‘A welcome and enjoyable biography of a towering yet overlooked figure — Haldane was a transforming war minister, a visionary Lord Chancellor, a passionate supporter of education, and much more. Like the best biographies, this book casts revealing light on the times in which he lived.’

— The Rt Hon. The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury former President of the UK Supreme Court

‘John Campbell’s book is a worthy and comprehensive monument to someone for whom a monument was overdue. I have no doubt that the book will be the locus classicus on this major figure in Britain’s history.’

— The Rt. Hon. Baron Butler of Brockwell (Robin Butler) KG GCB CVO PC former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service and Master of University College, Oxford

‘An exceptionally enjoyable read. I now understand what an extraordinary man [Haldane] was - exceptional in his time and exceptional compared with politicians and public servants who followed after him.

Campbell’s book brings out how ahead of his time Haldane was on many issues - expansion of university education; the need for technical education as pioneered in Germany; the need for devolution; the need for inter-state cooperation and multilateral government on many issues; and more. And he not only had many great insights; he also delivered.

Would that we had politicians today who worked as hard as did Haldane, who thought deeply like he did about policy issues and about governance, who worked as assiduously up-front and behind the scenes to get good ideas adopted and bad ideas buried, and who stood up for the idea of public service in the interests of the whole community.’

— Sir Timothy Lankester KCB former Permanent Secretary at the Overseas Development Administration, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Director and Principal of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

‘I thought that Haldane was important, and now I know.’

— Sir Brian Harrison FBA Emeritus Fellow, Corpus Christi College Oxford, Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford 1996-2004, Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2000-2004

‘This splendid book taught me much. It gave me hours of enjoyment and uplifting enlightenment and inspiration.’

— Sir Andrew Mackenzie FRS