A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair

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9781403939906: A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair
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During the course of the Twentieth Century, nineteen men and one woman - from Robert Cecil, Third Marquis of Salisbury to Tony Blair - have occupied the post of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In a series of biographical essays, Dick Leonard, a leading political journalist and former MP, recounts the circumstances that took them to the top of "the greasy pole", probes their personal and political strengths and weaknesses, assesses their performance in the top office and asks what lasting influence they have had. The author also recounts fascinating and little-known facts about the private lives of each of the Prime Ministers, for example which two premiers, one Tory, one Labour, were taught by the same governess as a child? Who was thrashed at his public school for writing pornography and later donated one-fifth of his fortune to the nation? Who was awarded a fourth class degree at Oxford and went on to father eight children? Who was the only Prime Minister to be born overseas? Who was described by his son as "probably the greatest natural Don Juan in the history of British politics"?

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Review:

'Dick Leonard's insightful, fair-minded and marvellously readable study of the twenty British prime ministers of the twentieth century fills a glaring gap in the literature on modern British history and politics. It will be a 'must' for sixth-form and University reading lists; and no one interested in the role of the individual in politics should be without it.' - Professor David Marquand, former Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, and Biographer of Ramsay MacDonald

'A very great achievement.' - David Owen

'Immensely informative, beautifully written...both instructive and entertaining.' - Roy Hattersley

'An excellent book,' - Michael Heseltine

'A brilliantly balanced, and lasting, view.' - Clive Bradley, former Chief Executive of the Publishers Association
'Leonard has produced a reliable work, which will prove particularly useful to students of British History. We can only hope that he finds the time to finish the next two volumes as quickly as possible.' - Humanities - Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte

About the Author:

DICK LEONARD is a political journalist and former Labour MP. Previously Assistant Editor of The Economist, he has also worked for the BBC and The Observer. He is the author, or co-author of some 20 books, including Elections in Britain, The Pro-European Reader, Crosland and New Labour and The Economist Guide to the European Union.

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