power of reading

The Power of Reading then Rereading

April 23, 2016

Russ Ewell

Benjamin Disraeli captured my young imagination reading the writing work of Sarah Bradford. What I remember about her book, “Disraeli,” is this charismatic and resilient character, became one of the greatest leaders in England’s history.

I read this volume in college

You can only imagine my excitement, when I stumbled onto a new biography about him called, “Disraeli: The Novel Politician” by David Cesarani. For some years, I had wanted to revisit my fascination with him, and this new volume presents the opportunity.

The New Book on Disraeli

I discovered this new book, “Disraeli: The Novel Politician,” reading a book review in the Wall Street Journal by Benjamin Baliant. The book review is titled, “A Genius for Self-Invention.”

Reading the review reminded me why I originally fell in love with Disraeli. He was fighting against the odds, living by his wits, in an attempt to penetrate high society, which was closed to Jews.

Perhaps his Jewishness was what fascinated me about Disraeli. The fact that his background and lineage ran counter to everything necessary for success in English patrician society. Despite the odds Disraeli rose to the greatest heights serving as Prime Minister twice.

Lord Randolph Churchill, the father of Winston Churchill, whose career Baliant says was helped along by Disraeli, explains his success in conquering those odds and obstacles.

Randolph Churchill once summarized Disraeli’s life as “failure, failure, failure, partial success, renewed failure, ultimate and complete triumph.”

Benjamin Baliant, A Genius for Self-Invention

His enduring determination and sense of destiny is again expressed in the words of Baliant describing his elective struggles.

At 32, after four times standing unsuccessfully for Parliament—then still the domain of landed aristocrats and monied peers—Disraeli was elected in 1837, the year Victoria acceded to the throne. His bombastic maiden speech at the House of Commons was greeted with hoots and foot-stomping. “I will sit down now,” he shouted above the din, “but the time will come when you will hear me.”

Benjamin Baliant, A Genius for Self-Invention

What I find fascinating is the imprint great men and women can make on our minds. Here I am, revisiting the emotional inspiration of someone I read about in college, by reading a new book to experience my fascination all over again.

Whenever I revisit a heroic figure I always learn something new about them, and as a consequence about me. This is the power of reading then rereading.

Time to purchase my new book, learn my new lessons, and deepen my belief that each of us has a destiny to reach no matter how difficult. Thank you Benjamin Disraeli for reaching yours.