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The British General Election of 2010 Paperback – 29 Sep 2010
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'...the Bible of General Elections.' David Dimbleby, BBC
'...a riveting read... Forget the Blair and Mandelson works - this is easily the best political book of the year.' - Mike Smithson, PoliticalBetting.com
'It's popular academic writing at its best, combining a clear narrative (using anecdotes and quotes garnered from more than 300 background interviews) with lots of solid, meaty number-crunching.' Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian
'Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley have penned a political thriller.... The book is distinguished by the quality of its sources: the ministers, aides and strategists who open up to these academics in a way they might not to journalists.' - The Observer
'Indispensable' Matthew d'Ancona, The Telegraph
'...magisterial...' - David Mills, Newstatesman.com
'…excellent and indispensable…' - nextleft.org
'Mandelson and Blair's books will get all the attention, but if you want real insight into the last election, Kavanagh and Cowley look like they're on the money.' - Paul Waugh, London Evening Standard
'required reading for anyone interested in British politics' – Progress
'A British General Election is not over until this book appears.'
Peter Hennessy, FBA, Attlee Professor of Contemporary History, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
'The quality of the analysis is as sharp as ever' - Lord Adonis, Fabian Review
'The original and still the best. Kavanagh and Cowley use their unparalleled access to Britain's top politicians and their backroom staff to produce an account of this historic election, and the formation of the coalition that followed it, which rings true at every level. Authoritative, fascinating, and often wryly amusing, this book once again sets the standard.'
Tim Bale, Professor of Politics, Sussex University, author of The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron.
'The gold standard of political writing. If you want to know what really happened in the 2010 General Election, look no further. This is the first draft of history, fresh and authoritative ... our first TV debates, the election that never was in 2007, the whole drama is explained with wit and authority.'
Gary Gibbon, Political Editor, Channel 4
'As lively as the best journalism and as rigorous as the best academic treatise, the ... series fully deserve their reputation as the best books on national elections anywhere in the world. In order to unravel the full story of the 2010 election and its extraordinary aftermath, Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley have talked at length to insiders at the heart of each party's campaign – and it shows. The result is a book that fully maintains the dazzling standards set over half a century by the incomparable David Butler.'
Peter Kellner, President, YouGov
'The General Election series of books has become an institution. Dennis Kavanagh is one of the wisest minds patrolling the borders of academic politics and contemporary history and Philip Cowley is a brilliant choice to join him in maintaining the series. He is one of the sharpest chroniclers of Westminster politics: I admire his independence of judgement and willingness to puncture bubbles of media myth about the way that Parliament and Government works.'
John Rentoul, Chief Political Editor, Independent on Sunday
'The 2010 election was like no other. There is still much to learn about what happened during the campaign and Cowley and Kavanagh lay out all the facts in clear, comprehensible detail. Access to sources at the very top of the political parties ensures this book is essential reading if you want to know what really went on behind the scenes.'
Andrew Hawkins, Chief Executive, ComRes
'The 65-year-old series of books on British General Elections has become the Wisden of politics – essential reading for anyone wanting to know what happened during the campaigns and the significance of the outcome.'
Peter Riddell, Senior Fellow, The Institute for Government and former Chief Political Commentator of The Times
Praise for previous editions
'a unique cocktail of analysis, narrative and insider insight, are the authoritative guide to postwar electoral politics.'
Andrew Adonis, Times Literary Supplement
'A formidable achievement ... The studies have become by now almost part of our democratic fabric.'
Anthony Howard, The Listener
'The renowned ... election books demand shelf space and deserve frequent reference. Essential to the scholar of the British politics of our time.'
Robert Worcester, MORI, Parliamentary History
'Anyone familiar with previous volumes knows what a joy this book is, how it is packed with juicy morsels of political fact and incisive analysis.'
Jay Adams, Times Higher Education Supplement
'If generations to come want to know exactly what happened they have a reliable source to look it up in ... the solid, objective, verifiable story of what happened, when and why, set in impeccably numerate context.'
David McKie, Guardian
'The best series anywhere on national elections.'
Lancelot L. Farrar, Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science
The definitive guide to the British General ElectionSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
After many years (the last time was the book dealing with the February 1974 election) there is once again a separate section on the outcome of the election and the night of drama is handled very well. I could never understand why Butler and Kavanagh had dispensed with the 'outcome' section as a separate entity and it is good to see it back.
In some ways it is strange to read about the recent past portrayed as settled history, although the passage of time will sort out the perspective. All the pivotal moments - 'Bigotgate', the debates and the extraordinary aftermath are in their proper place and dealt with well.
If I have a tiny quibble, it is the lack of a table showing all the opinion polls published throughout the campaign. Mythology often grows up over time about 'late swing' or other factors, and such a table can be a helpful corrective to this.
However, this is a book well worth getting.
In large part that is because their account is based on hundreds of off the record interviews carried out during the last Parliament and in the immediate aftermath of the general election. Because the interviews have been carried out across political parties (and across factions within them), the authors present a much more robust picture of events than is the fate of some journalists who source their off the record information much more narrowly.
The conduct of these interviews is nothing new for the Nuffield series, which has covered each general election since the Second World War, but this book makes much more extensive use of them than previous volumes. It stands in particular contrast to the 2005 volume, being much longer and more detailed.
Part of the audience for what has become the standard reference series on British elections are scholars decades in the future, for whom accurate summaries of what was publicly said at the time is useful.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not light reading. It is though more or less the definitive work.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
There seems to be a common theme that this book is a superior effort to the 2005 one. Maybe its the change in authorship, maybe the election was more entertaining and dynamic,... Read morePublished on 11 April 2015 by seanjm
Not what I expected. I wanted a list of all current M.P.s. This was not included.Published on 29 Aug. 2014 by Eric The Red
Fantastically detailed, this book gives a good and well-informed account of the election preparations. I can't wait for the 2015 book!Published on 3 Sept. 2013 by Rich C
To any current, future or prospective student, either casual or official, this should be on your reading list. Read morePublished on 10 Oct. 2011 by The Biscuit
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