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Skimming along

Ross McKibbin, 20 October 1994

The Major Effect 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 500 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62273 1
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... so crowded has his premiership been with crises of one sort or another. Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon not unreasonably, therefore, think this the moment to assess his prime ministerial career; the result is The Major Effect, a collection of 26 essays by a distinguished group of commentators – including the editors. Five years ago they edited ...

Why Do the Tories Always Have the Luck?

Peter Clarke, 23 February 1995

Conservative Century: The Conservative Party since 1900 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball.
Oxford, 842 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 19 820238 5
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... the 20th century likely to become known as the ‘Conservative century’? This is the claim which Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball advance in the wide-ranging and thought-provoking volume which they have edited. ‘Either standing alone or as the most powerful element in a coalition,’ they write, ‘the party will have held power for seventy of the ...

Fatalism, Extenuation and Despair

Peter Clarke: John Major, 5 March 1998

Major: A Political Life 
by Anthony Seldon.
Weidenfeld, 856 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 297 81607 1
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... of this is still fresh in our memories. Indeed, it was only six months after Major’s demise that Anthony Seldon published this substantial book, and looking at it now provokes mixed reactions. First to marvel that even the prodigiously industrious Dr Seldon – a busy headmaster whose name appeared on five dustjackets ...

Early Hillhead Man

Paul Addison, 6 May 1982

Churchill’s Political Philosophy 
by Martin Gilbert.
Oxford, 119 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 19 726005 5
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Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 
by Martin Gilbert.
Macmillan, 279 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 333 32564 8
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Churchill and de Gaulle 
by François Kersaudy.
Collins, 476 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 0 00 216328 4
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The Diaries of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart 
edited by Kenneth Young.
Macmillan, 800 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 333 18480 7
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Churchill’s Indian Summer 
by Anthony Seldon.
Hodder, 667 pp., £14.95, October 1981, 0 340 25456 4
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... against drink and debt, are mainly of interest for Bruce Lockhart’s many conversations with Anthony Eden. The recurrent topic was the aging Churchill’s refusal to step down as leader of the Opposition. It is clearer than ever that if the Conservatives could have quietly dumped the old man between l945 and 1955 they would have done so. Extra proof is ...

The Second Resolution Question

Owen Bennett-Jones: Post-Invasion Iraq, 1 June 2017

Iraq: The Cost of War 
by Jeremy Greenstock.
Heinemann, 467 pp., £25, November 2016, 978 1 78515 125 5
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... Don’t contradict me.’ In 2006 Greenstock discussed his powerlessness with Blair’s biographer Anthony Seldon: ‘I often questioned their decision, which is the kind of discussion you have in every Foreign Office corridor on any issue. But it’s not natural in the American style, which is to know what the president wants and to go for ...


Alan Ryan, 26 November 1987

Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... To celebrate the launching of the Institute of Contemporary British History, Peter Hennessy and Anthony Sheldon have edited an engaging collection of essays on post-war British governments, starting with Paul Addison on the wartime background to Attlee’s success, and ending with some surprisingly detached reflections on Mrs Thatcher from the pen of John ...

Carnival of Self-Harm

Tom Crewe: Good Riddance to the Tories, 20 June 2024

Haywire: A Political History of Britain since 2000 
by Andrew Hindmoor.
Allen Lane, 628 pp., £35, June, 978 0 241 65171 1
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No Way Out: Brexit from the Backstop to Boris 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 698 pp., £26, April, 978 0 00 830894 0
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The Abuse of Power: Confronting Injustice in Public Life 
by Theresa May.
Headline, 368 pp., £12.99, May, 978 1 0354 0991 4
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The Conservative Party after Brexit: Turmoil and Transformation 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 368 pp., £25, March 2023, 978 1 5095 4601 5
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Johnson at 10: The Inside Story 
by Anthony Seldon and Raymond Newell.
Atlantic, 640 pp., £12.99, April, 978 1 83895 804 6
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The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson 
by Nadine Dorries.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., £25, November 2023, 978 0 00 862342 5
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Politics on the Edge: A Memoir from Within 
by Rory Stewart.
Vintage, 454 pp., £10.99, June, 978 1 5299 2286 8
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Ten Years to Save the West: Lessons from the Only Conservative in the Room 
by Liz Truss.
Biteback, 311 pp., £20, April, 978 1 78590 857 6
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Tory Nation: The Dark Legacy of the World’s Most Successful Political Party 
by Samuel Earle.
Simon & Schuster, 294 pp., £10.99, February, 978 1 3985 1853 7
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... was no use, and he announced his resignation on 7 July 2022.‘Rarely in three hundred years,’ Anthony Seldon and Raymond Newell conclude,and never since 1916 has a prime minister been so poor at appointments, so incompetent at running cabinet government or so incapable of finding a stable team to run Number 10. The prime minister is the chief ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories, 24 January 2013

The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... By the early 1950s the Tory Party seemed to require bloody renewal of this sort. Would Anthony Eden wield the knife against its leader, the elderly and infirm Winston Churchill? For Churchill, who was further debilitated by a stroke in 1953, was resolute on one subject: that he would not cede the premiership to Eden. At last, Eden became leader and ...

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