After a bumpy start, Isaacs had an unusually varied and distinguished career. The son of a Jewish fruit merchant from the East End of London, he left school at 14 to join the family business. He next turned to stockbroking but was ‘hammered’ in 1884. His third start was reading law. He was called to the bar in 1887 and quickly established himself. Entering Parliament as a Liberal for Reading in 1904, he was solicitor‐general by 1910 and attorney‐general the following year. Though singed in the Marconi scandal of 1912, he was appointed lord chief justice in 1913 and given a barony. Next, from January 1918 until 1919 he was ambassador to the USA at a critical time of the war. Reading resumed his legal career, but in 1921 was sent to India as viceroy, remaining there until 1926.
Subjects: British History.