1st Edition

Horatio Bottomley and the Far Right Before Fascism

By David Renton Copyright 2023
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    Horatio Bottomley and the Far Right Before Fascism examines Bottomley’s life and politics, and what made him one of the great figures of Edwardian life.

    During the first World War, his magazine John Bull sold two million copies a week. Bottomley addressed huge crowds urging them to wage a way of extermination against ordinary Germans. The first chairman of the Financial Times, the inspiration for Toad in The Wind in the Willows, Bottomley was also a major figure in post-1918 politics, urging Conservative voters to dump their leaders and try something new. This carefully researched biography, the first new life of Bottomley for 50 years, shows how he began on the centre-left of Edwardian politics and then moved to the margins, becoming a leading figure on the Edwardian far right, and pre-empting the non-fascist far right of our own days.

    This book will appeal to scholars and students with interests in political history, fascism and the far right.

    1. Introduction

    2. Fathers, Real and Imagined

    3. First Steps in Business and Politics

    4. Proprietor, Politician, Defendant

    5. Company Promoter, Bucket-shop Keeper

    6. Sensualist

    7. The Gospel of Humanity

    8. The Spell of Words

    9. Patriot

    10. Thief

    11. Variety Artist

    12. In Retrospect


    David Renton is a British historian and barrister. His other books include Labour’s Antisemitism Crisis: What the Left Got Wrong and How to Learn From It (Routledge 2022), No Free Speech for Fascists: Exploring “No Platformin History, Law and Politics (Routledge 2021) and Never Again: Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League 19761982 (Routledge 2019).

    'Renton writes with the range and forensic eye that has made him such a vital commentator on the political right and its history.'

    Lawrence Black, Professor of Modern History, University of York, UK

    'In a refreshing reversal of leftist histories that seek primarily to celebrate, David Renton's study is based on the premise that “we cannot understand the history of English socialism without understanding the people who resisted that form of politics”. He encourages socialists to reflect how they communicate and engage with those they seek to persuade or overcome.'

    Matthew Worley, Professor of Modern History, University of Reading, UK

    'Detailed, well-researched and authoritative.'

    Paul Jackson, Professor in the History of Radicalism & Extremism, University of Northampton, UK