Reviews and Reports

Extraordinary ordinary men. Biographies of Dutch post-war premiers reviewed

  • Marieke Oprel Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Keywords: Biography, Prime Minister, post-war


This article reviews three biographies of former Dutch prime ministers: wartime Prime Minister Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy (1885–1961), the first post-war Prime Minister Willem Schermerhorn (1894–1977) and the last volume of the biography of “vadertje” (daddy) Willem Drees (1886–1988). In this article, I will discuss the biographies of these three statesmen, all published in quick succession in 2014, as a case in point to investigate whether we can learn political or other lessons from former political leaders, and to reflect on the status quaestionis of political biographies as a genre.

This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on December 24th 2015 and published on June 13th 2016.

Reviews and Reports