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A successful journalist, naturalist and author, James Drummond (1869–1940) began his biography of Richard John Seddon (1845–1906), New Zealand's prime minister, while his subject was still alive and in office. Originally intended as a collaborative effort, the work had to be completed without further assistance following Seddon's sudden death on a voyage from Australia to Auckland in June 1906. It was published in 1907, along lines 'that Mr Seddon approved of', and with an introduction by the prime minister at the time, Sir Joseph Ward. A popular figure, Seddon led his party to victory at five successive general elections. The book traces his life from his English childhood, through his emigration and entry into politics, to his last days, charting the achievements, personality and beliefs of New Zealand's longest-serving prime minister to date, and shedding light on the history of the Liberal Party.