Television: Climbing the Greasy Pole

Disraeli, PBS, beginning June 1,9p.m. E.D.T.

Did Benjamin Disraeli really exist, or was he the figment of somebody's imagination? He was a dandy at a time when people were wearing black. He was a romantic in a prosaic age. He wrote best-selling novels while everyone around him was writing political tracts. Most important of all, he was by birth a Jew in an era when practicing Jews were legally barred from entering the British Parliament. Yet he was twice Prime Minister, a favorite of Queen Victoria's and a dominant figure in British politics for almost four decades. He is, in sum, a...

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