ISBN is

978-0-19-214121-7 / 019214121X

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About the book:

Renowned journalist and bestselling author Paul Johnson here presents some 300 anecdotes and guides the reader along with succinct and informative commentaries from Richard III's murder of the princes in the Tower of London to a final frosty scene between Jim Callaghan and Barbara Castle. The brilliance and flaws of statesmen and politicians--Sir Thomas More, Cromwell, Sir Robert Walpole, Gladstone, Disraeli, F.E. Smith, Churchill, Attlee, Crosland, and Crossman among them--are recorded by their contemporaries, in journals and letters, in parliamentary records, and by later biographies. Funerals, battles in Parliament, an interview with a journalist turned forger, dinner and garden parties, the visit of a lecherous former American president, Attlee's reaction to being overtaken by a dangerous driver who proves to be his wife, Churchill making a graceful recovery after he had pushed an older boy-a future colleague--into the swimming pool at Harrow: the stories range from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the witty to the sobering, from the gratifying to the positively alarming. As Johnson convincingly demonstrates in his introduction, anecdotes have proved a valuable source of historical truth. Details may be altered or distorted (an occasionally lost in the romance of invention) but more often than not, in essentials they prove accurate and telling. And it is the stories--strange, eccentric, personal--that we remember long after the dates of Bills and Battles and Monarchs have gone out of our heads.

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