"Once A Jolly Bagman" (1997) is a wonderful autobiographical portrait of a true UK political "insider" part of the Thatcher team from 1975 though 1990 (he served in several jobs including Treasurer if the Conservative Party).
I learned about this book and Lord Alistair McAlpine himself from another book titled "Living In A Foreign Language: A Memoir Of Food, Wine, And Love In Italy" (2007) written by a famous USA movie and television star, Michael Tucker (who played the memorable tax lawyer in the renowned "L.A. Law" TV series in the 1980's and 1990's, and acted in other hits which brought honor to his name).
Alistair McAlpine owned and personally operated a very upscale bed and breakfast hotel operation in the southernmost part of Italy ("the bottom of the boot"), and Tucker chanced to travel to that part of Italy for a reunion party with close friends, and ended up staying at McAlpine's hotel/ bed and breakfast.
Michael Tucker was impressed with the whole thing and wrote about it (McAlpine's hotel in Italy) in his (Tucker's) book, "Living In A Foreign Language" (2007).
Tucker also mentioned the title of Alistair McAlpine's memoir book, "Once A Jolly Bagman" (1997), and I got a used copy from Amazon.Com.
What a page turner McAlpine's book turned out to be.
McAlpinefs book includes (but is not limited to) great descriptions of McAlpinefs adventures in rural NW Australia over the years, and also inside gossip about the UK govt. under Margaret Thatcher, whom McAlpine served as Treasurer of the Conservative Party, and knew well, visited often.
McAlpine describes Michael Hobbs, yet another Thatcher UK Govt. staffer from the 1980s who went on to write the HOUSE OF CARDS (1990) trilogy, now being remade into a USA version shot in Baltimore MD USA doubling for Wash. DC (Ifm a SAG actor in that interesting new TV series, set to air starting Feb. 2013c.NetFlix owns it, and it will be directy streamed into the Internetc.no conventional, old time broadcast TV or cable TVccInternet streaming is the new big thingc..very expensive show with a reported $100 Million budgetc.stars and is owned by Kevin Spacey).
"Once A Jolly Bagman" (1997) is an unexpected and highly valuable look at an English "insider" and world traveler, and "player" in big time wheeler-dealer real estate and other promotion and "dealing."
McAlpine has a true "gift of the gab," and is clearly the sort of person one would be quite fortunate to meet with for lunch.....long, long lunches repeated often, in fact. Fascinating man who wrote a fascinating book.
I wish the book had been indexed, but one can't have everything.
Get it read it. You won't be sorry.
Written by David Roger (Tex) Allen, SAG USA movie actor (English descended...family came from England to America in 1645.... and unapologetic Anglophile!)