I am not an admirer of contemporary biography,” Benjamin Disraeli told an admiring contemporary biographer of his in 1860, “and I dislike to be the subject of it.” This was one of the few wishes the extraordinary statesman did not realize. Fascination with the eccentric middle-class Jew whose genius and invincible drive placed him in the pantheon of English immortals remains unabated by time; four respectable biographies have appeared in the U.S. since 2006 alone. “But to appreciate the significance of his achievement,” writes Adam Kirsch, the latest in this line, “it is necessary to understand Disraeli’s life as a Jewish story.” Kirsch was the gifted book critic of the late lamented New York Sun, and has written with force and perspicuity on an impressive range on topics, from the Second World War to Shelley and Keats. This versatility serves him well; a political turn and...