The author portrays Sir Alec Douglas-Home as a man who was obviously able to charm and influence a great many movers and shakers, and enjoyed the loyalty of many who worked for him. Many it seemed liked Sir Alec, and this, coupled with an unerring ability to know what would 'wash' with the Conservative Party, was what helped him get to the top of the greasy pole. However, we learn little about the man's inner convictions (apart from his steely opposition to Communism), his brand of Conservatism, his vision of Britain. The author is reverential and clearly a fan of his subject rather than a critic. This all goes to create the impression that Sir Alec 'deserved' to become leader of his party and PM in October 1963, and that he 'ought' to have defeated Harold Wilson in the 1964 General Election, when in fact there are a great many grounds to doubt the desirability of either scenario, both for the Conservative Party and for the country. What is clear is that Sir Alec belonged to a political caste that we will never see again in this country, and to read this biography is to look through a window onto a Britain (and a social class) that has vanished for ever. Curiously, I found this book one of the best I've come across in portraying the personality of Harold Macmillan (and better at this than revealing the essence of its main subject!). This is one of a number of high points in the book, which made it an enjoyable read. However, the book also has several faults, the most serious of which is the failure to substantiate clearly for the reader WHY Sir Alec was deemed to be such a successful Foreign Secretary. It is difficult to back this view up from the outcome of British Foreign Policy démarches between July 1960 and October 1963 and June 1970 and February 1974, and the author doesn't make the case convincingly.