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The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets: True Stories from the Government Archives Paperback – 25 Sep 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; Reprint edition (25 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349138915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349138916
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

full of wry, waspish humour (The Scotsman)

A hugely enjoyable bran tub of revelations about our rulers' fancies and foibles over the past century (David Kynaston)

Book Description

From the author of the bestselling The First Fifty Years of Private Eye comes a collection of state secrets that those in power might have preferred to go unnoticed . . .

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book to pick up and put back down again after reading a few pages. I don't mean that as a criticism, merely as guide to its value as a brief but repeatedly enjoyable port of call. It is a light, undemanding, curate's egg of a volume that never threatens to realise its full potential, but does provide the occasional witty, surprising or entertaining odd anecdote about politics and politicians. The promise of secrets from government archives is not really fulfilled - much of what is covered is either already known or fairly banal or insubstantial - so the bulk of the book is really just a thoughtful collection of anecdotes and incidents from various other public or published sources. But there's no fault in that. The author organises the material in an intelligent fashion, writes well and entertainingly and slips in the occasional well-aimed dig at the pompous and self-obsessed. Among the many little details that caught the eye were the cost of Churchill's hearing aids, Heath's use of expensive limos to take him to and from sailing regattas, the diplomat who had his trousers stolen in a Leningrad street and the 1960s plan to demolish Whitehall in its entirety, from Trafalgar Square to Westminster Abbey, and replace the area with `concrete ziggurats'. This would make a very nice birthday or Christmas present, and ought to be a welcome item in the bathroom or by the bedside.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very funny book would recommend to anyone interested in politics and politicians laughed out loud at some of the stupid things said by supposedly intelligent people
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for generalists and political interests. Easy read. I
I got this book for an ex-public servant as a gift.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book. it was a bit of light relief at the end of a busy day. Some enlightening topics which were very interesting and goes to show what is the murky world of politics .
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well researched and documented. It shows just how much time and effort governments put into situations which really ought to be rejected as not worth the effort to deal with. So much for thinking that cabinet meeting are full of meaningful thoughts about major matters when really it how much was drunk at Chequers over a weekend. Interesting information about the Falklands. Good read.
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Format: Hardcover
This isn’t my usual sort of read but I enjoyed it. It’s a collection of information from the government archives and is arranged in themed chapters. I especially enjoyed the ‘Cultural Differences’ chapter. I’d forgotten Mary Whitehouse. There are a great many lessons in diplomacy to be learnt from this book and a great many instances showing that those in power are no different from the rest of us. They too have illogical likes and dislikes and get bogged down in details. There were reminders of how different things were decades ago. I liked finding out that Sir John Wolfenden had a code for homosexuality and for prostitution to avoid embarrassing his secretaries, these two things were referred to as Huntley and Palmers. The next time I see a box of Huntley and Palmers biscuits I shall smile as I remember this. This book is probably best suited to those who enjoy history or who are over forty years of age because the secrets are not recent (and can’t be, because the recent secrets are still secret).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love to read about archived material and this book gave a fascinating insight into some of the correspondence of governments over the years. I hope that as more documents are released further volumes will follow.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought it would be more amusing than it turned out to be and was certainly long-winded in parts. However it proved to be of some educational value
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