George Charles Bingham, the third Earl of Lucan (1800-1888) was damned from nearly all sides during his lifetime – despised in Ireland, sneered at in England. He was branded as the incompetent general who lost the Light Brigade at the infamous charge at Balaclava; a landlord ogre who evicted starving tenants at the time of the great potato famine in Ireland; and ‘an ugly a person as you would wish to meet with’ according to Daniel O’Connell, the Irish nationalist politician. Ever since, this unenviable caricature has become crystallized in traditional historical lore. But is it a true picture?
The Notorious Third Lord Lucan: An Embattled Life re-examines this demonized picture and delves into the Earl’s history with fresh eyes. It necessarily explores Lucan’s place in the well-known events with which he is most associated, but also offers a more complete and balanced account of his life as a soldier, agriculturalist, politician, businessman, and overall keen modernizer. It reveals his remarkable strengths, weaknesses, achievements and failures. It shows how his aristocratic inheritance became a poisoned chalice, and how his life ultimately was dominated by failure, condemning his descendants to a much-diminished future.