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Dick Taverne: Against The Tide [Hardcover]

Dick Taverne QC
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

20 Mar 2014
In 1973, Labour MP Dick Taverne caused a national sensation when he stood against his own party as an independent to win a historic by-election in Lincoln. Demonstrating the power of the individual against party politics, his bold move was a forerunner for the formation of the SDP some eight years later and cemented his own place in political history. Peppered with entertaining anecdotes, this autobiography sets Taverne's political battles in the context of a rich and varied life. After studying at Oxford University, Taverne juggled a legal career while taking his first steps in politics, before serving in Harold Wilson's government during the 1960s. His later achievements included the launch of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the founding of the charity Sense About Science, whose objective of advancing public understanding of science continues to inform public debate today. Still an active member of the House of Lords, Dick Taverne presents a thoughtful and compelling memoir, as well as a measured account of fraught and turbulent times.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing; First Edition edition (20 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184954669X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849546690
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Dick Taverne is a natural re-creator of mood, moment and character from childhood, through the flavourful early post-war Oxford, the fascination of working with Roy Jenkins at the Home Office and the Treasury, to his brave, early, lone stand against leftward tendencies within the Labour Party. There is pleasure and instruction on every page. --Peter Hennessey

An easy and exhilarating read: the account of a courageous, fully committed and important life. --Hugh Purcell, Prospect

Brilliantly written, witty and very clear. I couldn't put it down... I devoured every word including the two Appendices. --Lord Wasserman

About the Author

Born in Sumatra in 1928 of Dutch parents, Dick Taverne arrived in England in 1939, just before the outbreak of war. At Balliol College, Oxford he won First Class Honours in Philosophy and Ancient History, but then turned to the law and was called to the Bar in 1954. In 1965 he was appointed a QC and specialised in cases from the Commonwealth. After election to Parliament in 1962, he served in Harold Wilson's government from 1966 to 1970, as a Home Office minister and then in the Treasury, both under Roy Jenkins. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 1996. He was voted Parliamentary Science Communicator of the Year by the Association of British Science Writers in 2006 and is the author of The Future of the Left: Lincoln and After and The March of Unreason: Science, Democracy, and the New Fundamentalism.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grit in the Machine 5 Aug 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Dick Taverne's memoir. His account of the rise and fall of Social Democracy in Britain between 1960 and the present time is engaging and in some respects informative. Memoir is a tricky medium because it invites invention and commentary rather than strict adherence to the facts. Dick Taverne came at it from a privileged social and educational background and became part of the political elite that the public feel uneasy about today. Taverne's public record as discussed here is not complete and a biographer would be less complimentary to him than he is to himself. I shared some of this journey he describes and came at it from a different and working class background. We met for a time in the middle until he reached the House of Lords and I reached somewhere quite else. But it can be said of the author that he is a person of intellect and that he entertained and informed. He left grit in the machine. That is quite a political achievement.
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