Reading Philip Stephens Politics and the Pound has reminded me how much I love reading political history, particularly with an economic slant.

I am about to get 3 weeks off.  I would love to spend the child-free moments devouring more political memoires.  So: any good suggestions? I have already got through a fair few:

Gladstone, Peel, Palmerston, Disraeli biogs;

Churchill War diaries, Jenkins, Wilson Healey Benn Crossman memoires/biogs

“One of us” on Thatcher, Alan Clarke, Lawson View from No11 from Thatcher period

Blair, Mullins, Darling, endless Rawnsley, Mandelson, Jonathan Powell from New Labour.

What reads really well?  Tweet or comment, many thanks



9 thoughts on “Bleg: political memoires for summer reading

  1. Can’t imagine someone like you not liking Lewis Baston’s biography of Reginald Maudling. It’s 500+ pages but read more like 200.

    1. That sounds really interesting – thank you! I find that stop-go period weirdly interesting. Will try to put it on the list

  2. When the Lights went out – Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett is a really interesting political history book. It toes the line between being quite a populist account and yet also factually fulfilling really well. It does mention economics quite substantially but never becomes the primary narrative of Beckett. As a twenty year old, I found it really good in detailing a decade which I had never though much of more than after the second World War and before Thatcher.

    1. Darren – many thanks. I agree – sadly, I’ve read it. Sort of sadly … I find the 1970s intriguing because it marked a high point for some and a low point for others (I think FE lecturers were paid more than bankers, according to the FT.)

  3. I’ve just finished reading Mitterand: A Study in Ambiguity by Philip Short. Though it’s not British political history, like the other books you said you liked, it is a really good read about a very strange and interesting person. I learnt a lot about him, but France and its politics as well. It brings to life the very difficult dilemmas for the French people during the war and the nightmare of Algeria. He was very worried about the Russian reaction to German reunification and democratisation in Eastern Europe, which looked really stupid in the early 90s – but rather less so now.

  4. A few just about on topic

    The recent John Campbell biography of Roy Jenkins is a good read and long so good for holidays.
    My favourite book on British economic & social history is ‘Classes & Cultures’ by Ross Mckibbin.
    I’m sure you’ll have read David Edgerton’s ‘Shock of the Old’ about technology in 20th century Britain.
    De Gaulle by Jonathan Fenby to follow from Robin’s point

    1. Actually very on topic I have one more that I thought was brilliant – DR Thorpe’s biography of Eden. Actually had some laugh-out-loud moments, like the when Khrushchev visits London and the interpreter who is drunk starts to give his own commentary on what Khrushchev is saying.

  5. On an American-tip “Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator” by Bobby Baker is superb.

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