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The Prime Minister

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

The Prime Minister is the fifth in Trollope’s series of six Palliser novels. With Phineas’ difficulties resolved, Trollope introduces new characters. A respectable young girl forsakes the man her family had always intended her to marry when she falls in love with a man of foreign extraction and an unknown family. He has a gentleman’s education and manners, but his family background and financial means are mysterious. Is he really a gentleman? Meanwhile, Plantagenet Palliser becomes Prime Minister of a shaky coalition government, and Glencora and Madame Goessler are busy with the ensuing social obligations.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I see it all," said the elder brother. "I think I know all about it. But running away is not the thing. One may be pretty nearly sure that one is right when one says that a man shouldn't run away from anything."

"The thing is to be happy if you can," said Arthur.

"No;—that is not the thing. I'm not much of a philosopher, but as far as I can see there are two philosophies in the world. The one is to make one's self happy, and the other is to make other people happy. The latter answers the best."

"I can't add to her happiness by hanging about London."

"That's a quibble. It isn't her happiness we are talking about,—nor yet your hanging about London. Gird yourself up and go on with what you've got to do. Put your work before your feelings. What does a poor man do, who goes out hedging and ditching with a dead child lying in his house? If you get a blow in the face, return it if it ought to be returned, but never complain of the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is the fifth novel in the Palliser series. It was a favorite of Tolstoy, and readers may notice the similarity of an incident in The Prime Minister to what is perhaps the most famous incident in Tolstoy's fiction. (It appears that each man wrote his relevant passage before the other's passage had ap...more

I started my odyssey through Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series of political novels in early 2011, beginning with Can You Forgive Her? I said at the outset of my review of this book that the year was to be my Trollope period, an author I had hitherto overlooked. Well, I only made it as far as Phineas...more

Goodreads lost this review from 2013:

Lady Glen (Duchess of Omnium to you) is an early Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in this, trying to build a Camelot from her husband's shaky government. While Parliament's sitting she hosts a different glitzy society dinner every evening at their charmi...more

Classic Trollope; more than one plot line running, a good villian, some interesting reflections on the Victorian parliamentary scene with a few identifiable caricatures (spot Disraeli anyone?), plenty of moves from town to country, a sprinkle of impossibly good characters and plenty of old favour...more

In The Prime Minister Plantagenet Palliser is revealed as a man too thin-skinned for party politics but remarkable for his honesty and integrity, Trollope's Perfect Gentleman.

An absolutely fantastic novel, and definitely one that's reignited my love of Anthony Trollope. This novel is a brilliant look at politics and marriage, moving and fascinating and engaging throughout. I'd highly recommend.

Just as I think Trollope might not maintain his ability to excite his readers because having many brilliantly told novels, I see this is a silly question his genius in story telling remains as stellar as always. I started this wondering what will this be all about besides the obvious title! Troll...more

The fifth book in The Palliser series. When I started this I thought it was going to be the best book to date but the story fell away at the end. The main character Ferdinand Lopez is a wonderful villain. He's immoral, manipulative but in some instances oddly vulnerable. This is the only book in...more

I didn’t mean to read ‘The Prime Minister’ quite so soon, or to rush through it quite so quickly, but I had to step back into Trollope’s world because there seemed to be so many old friends I wanted to see again, so many interesting new people to meet, so many intriguing things happening.

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