Wilde’s Last Stand
‘A shocking tale of heroes and villains.’ Sir Ian McKellen
In 1918, the Imperialist newspaper made a startling claim. The German Secret Service had the names of 47,000 members of the British establishment who were sexual deviants and Britain was losing the war because Germany was blackmailing them. In the sensational libel trial that followed, the main target was Maud Allan, the Salome dancer with high society connections and a dark secret. Meanwhile, Oscar Wilde’s closest friends were drawn into the affair in a bitter battle for his reputation. It was the greatest scandal of the early twentieth century.
This is a story of judges and prejudice, of aesthetes and admirals, of MPs and dancing girls, of sex and conspiracy; ingredients for a modern tabloid, yet in a decade that still seems a Victorian legacy. Philip Hoare has produced a revolutionary new portrait of British society, as nineteenth century morality and Edwardian opulence met the modern age.
Wilde’s Last Stand tells of transvestites in the trenches, of drug clubs in London, and of the man who sought to be Britain’s first fascist leader. Both revealing and chilling, this is a vital story about the birth of a troubled century.
Philip Hoare is an acclaimed author whose works include biographies of Stephen Tennant and Noël Coward, Spike Island and England’s Lost Eden. His book, Leviathan: or, The Whale won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction.
‘Documented with dazzling brilliance.’ The Sunday Times
‘A valuable addition to the alternative history of our century.’ Peter Parker, Observer
‘A thrashing good read.’ Independent on Sunday