Jacob Rees-Mogg is a British parliamentarian, well known for his strong views on Brexit and sometimes spoken of as Britain’s next Prime Minister. Earlier this year he wrote a book entitled The Victorians. The universally hostile reviews it received (from people not noted for their political views) deserve to be published as a book apart.
Dominic Sandbrook: 'On and on it goes, in the same plodding, Pooterish style. Did Rees-Mogg really write this? Or did he get the work-experience boy to do it? In any case, the overall effect is soul-destroying... [Rees-Mogg] has all the wit, style and literary elan of a Bulgarian boiler salesman'.
Kathryn Hughes: 'At least we know The Victorians isn't ghost-written. No self-respecting freelancer would dare ask for payment for such rotten prose.'
Andrew Rawnsley: ‘The only purpose of this dreadful pulp is to demonstrate why Britain’s past is no more safe in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s hands than its future.’
A.N. Wilson: 'The Victorians consists of a dozen clumsily written pompous schoolboy compositions... the author is worse than a twit; his book will be anathema . . .to anyone with an ounce of historical, or simply common, sense'.
Craig Brown, who assembled these scalpel jobs, wrote that ‘you would have to be either a saint, or a member of Rees-Mogg's immediate family, or his nanny, not to experience a tingle of pleasure when reading these reviews. There is something about a bad review, beautifully written, that makes all but the kindest heart soar.’
Apart from the book itself, two major problems were identified. One, how to stop Rees-Mogg writing another book and two, how to stop a man who spells Pontius Pilate as ‘Pontius Pilot’ becoming Prime Minister.
Sandbrook again: ‘The prospect of Rees-Mogg in Downing Street struck me as a ridiculous idea. But if this is what it takes to stop him writing another book, then I think we should seriously consider paying that price'.