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Friends in High Places: Who Runs Britain? [ Peguin Paperback ] Paperback – 28 Nov 1991

16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140156003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140156003
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire. He grew up thinking of himself as 'English' despite being one quarter Scottish. He is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books Friends in High Places, Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life, The English, On Royalty and The Political Animal are all published by Penguin.


Product Description

About the Author

Jeremy Paxman is a journalist, best-known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books include THE ENGLISH and IT ALWAYS ENDS IN TEARS. He lives in Oxfordshire.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
This afternoon I took the tube to Richmond, and thence a bus to Petersham. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 May 2000
Format: Paperback
Continuing the fine tradition of of socio-political analysis typified by Anthony Sampson's books on "The Anatomy of Britain" Jeremy Paxman presents an excellent, well-researched and enjoyably written study of the ruling elite on Britain in the 1990s.
Drawing on his own experience as a journalist and broadcaster for the BBC (itself, he argues, a pillar of the old boy network) Mr Paxman draws our attention to the fact that in the supposedly meritocratic Britain of Major and Blair the 'Establishment' is alive and well and as powerful as ever.
Fascinating, sobering reading.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sable Unadorned on 3 May 2005
Format: Paperback
A handy chapter-by-chapter guide to the main groupings - politicians, civil servants, academics, the great and the good and so on - who formed the ruling elite at the time.
While the Blair years have made an awful lot of changes to that traditional old-boy-network cast of British public life, this 1990 study is still well worth reading - the changes are more obvious when one knows where we were fifteen years ago.
Very rare of its type: one of the secrets of the system is that if you're on the inside you're expected to know how it works. If you're on the outside, you won't know (and vice versa). As such, much credit to Paxman for lifting the lid. And the fact that it's still in print after so long is a testament to its worth.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 April 2001
Format: Paperback
A very detailed and enlightening piece of work that opens the doors to who really (or is most likely) to run the country. Definately worth reading. I suspect however that circumstances have changed somewhat in the ten years that have passed since the book was written. Perhaps not as much as we might hope though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
One of his early books, it places Paxman in the centre of his world - politics, how decision are reached and who really makes them. Well-written and researched carefully, it is organised to deal with the main groupings - politicians, civil servants, academics, the great and the good and anyone expected to be in "high paces".

Every generation of people and politicians seems to bring in new changes and, with the developing effects of the new media, e.g. Internet in all its manifestations, this continues apace. Paxman charts these changes up to the time of writing and, as one would expect from an investigative journalist, he peels away some layers to show the workings beneath and how fast these changes are occurring.

An interesting, informative and enjoyable book which has dated but is, nevertheless, worth the investment in time.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
The Fristindula of Biccle and the Clintistorit of Wintistering seem to have been inventions of the late Peter Cook, but there really is, in the third millennium after Christ, a British functionary known as the Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary; and as recently as the 1960's Major-General Lord Michael Fitzalan Howard found the idea that a black man could be admitted to a Guards fighting unit simply incomprehensible.
When Jeremy Paxman of the BBC's Newsnight set about writing a book that tried to define the British 'establishment' his task was described to him by Enoch Powell as 'hunting the snark'. For my part, I'd say he has made a very good fist of it. He is not naïve and he doesn't underestimate the complexity of the issues involved. He is not arguing from any particular political standpoint, which in my view would have invalidated his arguments a priori. Above all, his great strength is that nobody impresses him and he is not prone to 'showing respect'. The test of any 'establishment', I suppose, is what happens when it is exposed to the glare of daylight. Traditions of any kind thrive not so much through avoiding or rebuffing attack as through avoiding scrutiny. The British way of appointing judges and bishops goes on much as before mainly because nobody is much bothered how it is done, and reformers tend to be preaching to the apathetic. There is no public demand for change to the antiquated style of the Bank of England either, and such innovations as have occurred within royalty itself really seem to me only fine-tuning, a skilful response to TV arc-lights. These are cases where the establishment has come through exposure unscathed or nearly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Alan on 13 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Difficult subject to tackle without resorting to speculation and fancy conspiracy theories.

Paxman has done a very good job, with both feet on the ground.
Well done!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By undine on 24 April 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm a big Paxo fan so relished reading this book but have to say I was a bit disappointed: the writing is laboured in places and the info is not that startling. Just about every group/category of people are mentioned including the WI but not the Freemasons which I thought was a very odd omission.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Exposes for a myth the much purveyed idea that the Britain of the 1990s is a meritocracy. Paxman leaves us with no doubts that gender, race and the "old school tie" still dominate political life in Britain. It would be brilliant if it wasn't so depressing!
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