A.J.P. Taylor

The last few months have produced a fine crop of books by or about prime ministers: some are biographies, some are diaries and some collections of letters. I have read so many of these books that I now feel I have been living with prime ministers in a familiar way. Six prime ministers have made their appearance, often bearing with them the promise of further volumes to come. Maybe I have missed some prime ministers from earlier centuries, but then the species was only in the process of evolution. Prime minister Attlee, after reading a life of Walpole, reflected: ‘I wonder who really ran the country in those days.’ The remark is relevant for later centuries.

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[*] A Book of Sandhurst Wargames by Paddy Griffith. Hutchinson, 64pp., £9. 95, 15 November, 009 150451 1.