authorities brought to trial offenders whose crime smacked of protest, it could be very difficult to persuade local juries to convict. Far from being loyal and virtually crime- free, Rebecca's country in the 1830s and early 1840s appears to have had many of the characteristics of Victorian Ireland, though fortunately on a less serious scale. The book is based on prodigious archival research in both national and local archives. Every argument is copiously backed with examples and documentation- sometimes bewilderingly so given the number of Joneses, Thomases and Williamses who appear as victims or followers of The Lady. It is a fine book, written with fairness, humanity and perception. Together with The Last Rising, it marks David Jones as one of the best historians not only of nineteenth-century Wales, but also of the people of early nineteenth-century Britain. CLIVE EMSLEY The Open University WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE. By Agatha Ramm. Political Portraits, general editor: Kenneth O. Morgan. G.P.C. Books, University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1989. Pp. lx, 129. £ 4.95 (paperback); £ 12.95 (hardback). If there was a competition over which historian today knows the most about Gladstone, Agatha Ramm would come very near to the top of the list. As such she is inevitably somewhat thwarted in revealing what she knows in a hundred and thirty pages. This book is packed with information often unobtainable elsewhere, but sometimes almost in note form. Her task is all the harder as she does not just supply a 'political portrait'. She deals at considerable length with Gladstone the contributor to monthly reviews, Gladstone the Homeric scholar, Gladstone the theologian, as well as Gladstone the statesman. The ghost of Lytton Strachey has haunted many writers on this 'eminent Victorian'. They have exercised their literary skill in poking fun at Gladstone in his non-political roles. It is one of the merits of this book that it takes Gladstone's writings seriously, particularly the Homeric studies, and indicates that he was not just the bizarre speculator ridiculed by Sir Philip Magnus, for example, but possessed solid insights which increased as his studies developed. Again, she goes some way in freeing Gladstone from his severer critics in not just indicating what Gladstone achieved, but also what he set out to achieve, but was prevented from so doing, in the reform of the Irish land laws for example. She is less severe than many others on Gladstone's publication of his letter to Lord Aberdeen on the Neapolitan prisons, though she does not attempt to depict him as over enthusiastic for Italian liberty. She is able to some extent to defend Gladstone against Professor Shannon's strictures, for not advocating a change in the status of the Ionian isles in 1858-59. Gladstone, she writes, argued that such a change must be part of a larger reconstruction of the Middle East 'about which he read some dozen books between 1855 and 1868'. Agatha Ramm has evidently performed the more remarkable feat of having read the thick eight published volumes of Gladstone's diaries and uses the knowledge thus obtained to considerable effect.