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The Conservatives - A History [Kindle Edition]

Robin Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £15.00
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Book Description

The history of the Conservative party has, extraordinarily, rarely been written in a single volume for the general reader. There are academic multi-volume accounts and a multitude of smaller books with limited historical scope. But now, Robin Harris, Margaret Thatcher's speechwriter and party insider, has produced this authoritative but lively history book which tells the whole story and fills a gaping hole in Britain's historiographical record.

Taking as his starting point the larger than life personalities of the Conservative Party's leaders and prime ministers since its inception, Robin Harris's book also analyses the interconnected themes and issues which have dominated Conservative politics over the years. The careers of Peel, Disraeli, Salisbury, Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Heath, Thatcher, Major, Hague and Cameron together amount to an alternative history of Britain since the early nineteenth century.

This landmark book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in history or politics, or anyone who has ever wondered how Britain came to be the nation it is today.

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"Astute, opinionated and unsentimental, Harris makes a robust and entertaining guide to the party's history."--Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times

"Robin Harris combines a career of working for the party with the qualifications of a historian. He also writes beautifully, with a perilous sharpness. His account is highly entertaining."--Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph

"A marvel of concision, lucidity and scholarship, with penetrating things to say about Peel, Disraeli, Churchill and the rest. His book can be read for pleasure as well as instruction."--Andrew Gimson, The Spectator

"Highly readable, with sparkling portraits of the leading figures, and the author's acerbic observations and pithy judgments, even when one does not agree with them, are always thought-provoking and sometimes pointed enough to make one laugh out loud...this is a good book. I am glad that it was written. And I'm glad that I read it."--The Times

"My expectations for this book were high; but Dr. Harris has exceeded them. This book is genuine history written with real authority...finely written and highly readable, with an undercurrent of dry wit running through its narrative."--ConservativeHome website

Book Description

The only up-to-date, single-volume history of the Conservative Party available

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Conservatives - A History by Robin Harris is a very good book exploring the history of the Party from its origins in the Tory grouping of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through its formation as a modern party in the 1830s, to its current incarnation as the dominant party in the Coalition. The book primarily tells the story of the Conservatives through its numerous and diverse leaders who it is apparent have had a major impact on what the Party believes and aims to achieve. It is well-written, informative and opinionated with the author not afraid to show his views on individuals and events. Overall, a very good and immensely enjoyable book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Narrative Sweep 19 April 2014
By Scruff
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A bulk standard political narrative sweep across 150 years or so of political history as it involved the Tory Party. Much of it has been covered elsewhere but nevertheless worth a read so as to have that sweep in the first place. Target in later in my opinion.

So worth the read and a standard not particularly profound bt not too superficial read.

All round a useful text.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 12 May 2013
As Philip Ziegler said in his recent review of the author's book on Margaret Thatcher, Robin Harris "has a low opinion of politicians". My goodness, it shows in this history of the Conservative Party.
Hardly a politician, in the 250 year history of the party, merits a favourable rating: Thatcher, of course; Salisbury and Bonar Law (mainly because he died quickly after becoming leader). Most get end-of-term reports of between C plus and C minus (Balfour;Eden;Heath).
In my view the author makes too little allowance for the demands of the job (whether PM or just leader) or the problems of governing without a majority or with a divided party- par for the course with the Tories!
Even Disraeli is subject to a constant flow of niggling criticism throughout and yet would we have a party in this form without him?
The Tories are one of the oldest and most successful political parties in World history. No one would think so on reading this.
Finally, I read this in Kindle form: accessing the notes and the index were a problem, so this is a rare occasion on which paper is best.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the ticket 29 Dec. 2011
I bought this book as a surprise Christmas present and the history buff I bought it for could not keep their nose out of it! Obviously a hit.
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