9780192821102 / 0192821105

The Oxford Book Of Political Anecdotes


Publisher:Oxford University Press



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About the book:

Renowned journalist and bestselling author, Paul Johnson here presents over three hundred anecdotes about the world of British politics 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 stories range from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the witty to the sobering, the gratifying to the positively alarming. The volume contains Lloyd George's assessment of Churchill: "He would make a drum out of the skin of his mother in order to sound his own praises;" an account of Henry VIII's tireless rewriting of his secretaries' work, drafts for which he required two-and-a-half inch margins and inch-wide spaces between lines to leave room for his changes; the details of Queen Mary II's brave death from smallpox; and much more. Journals, letters, and parliamentary records written by contemporaries, as well as later biographies record the brilliance and flaws of such notorious statesmen and politicians as Sir Thomas More, Cromwell, Sir Robert Walpole, Gladstone, Disraeli, and Attlee. Offering new perspectives on British history, the volume reveals endlessly entertaining stories of 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, and more.
Johnson convincingly demonstrates in his introduction that anecdotes consistently provide a valuable source of historical truth. Moreover, we remember the stories--strange, eccentric, personal--long after forgetting the dates of battles and monarchs.

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