- The Leo Amery Diaries edited by John Barnes and David Nicholson, introduction by Julian Amery
Hutchinson, 653 pp, £27.50, October 1980, ISBN 0 09 131910 2
Politics are three-quarters drudgery, so it takes a special ingredient to enliven the diary of a politician. Harold Nicolson and Chips Channon wrote splendid diaries because they were not so much politicians as sublime social columnists who happened to sit in the House of Commons. Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle were heavyweights and professionals, and the eternal grind of committee life is reflected in their accounts. Yet both were writing with the special excitement of socialist voyeurs. Determined to expose the secrets of Whitehall while the story was still hot, they were strongly aroused by the sight of naked acts of power, and thrilled to bits by their own part in the proceedings. With the diaries of Leopold Stennett Amery we return to the politics of an era whose revelations are chiefly of interest to professional historians. And we return in the company of a politician who was often regarded as a long-winded bore.