Diaries: Into Politics Hardcover – 12 Oct 2000
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Following the public devouring of Alan Clark's Diaries, the "long-awaited" second helping takes the form of a posthumous prequel, covering 1972 to1982, the formative years of this idiosyncratic political wag. And what do we discover? Blithely racist, he considers standing for the National Front, and writes that "I'm the nearest thing they're likely to get to an MP". He professes belief in National Socialism, is vehemently anti-European, and thrills to the sight of "fair-haired children" waiting outside school for their mums when he visits the Falklands in 1982. Indeed, blondes dominate his vision: his lecherous eye is everywhere, even propositioning in the Commons' public gallery, while his wife Jane stoically picks up the pieces.
After the first volume, some flatteringly spoke of Clark as a diarist to rival Samuel Pepys or Sir Henry "Chips" Channon. This time, the comparison begged is with Adrian Mole. A melancholic first half details an interminable string of losses at backgammon, neurosis over ageing, perpetual hypochondria, as well as quite affecting parental concerns. Politics remains a sideline, even when elected as an MP in 1974. It's only when the Conservatives come to power in 1979 under Margaret "The Lady" Thatcher (who reminds Clark of his mother), that the tone settles and becomes familiarly expansive, perhaps with an awareness of a future audience. Despite his hatred of his Plymouth constituency--such a pain--he revels in Commons clubbability, developing heroes such as Enoch Powell, chums such as Jonathan Aitken, and adversaries such as the "odious" Michael Heseltine, or that "butterball", Ken Clarke. The Falklands War is greeted as a personal triumph, albeit from the backbenches, but he does well to remind us how unpopular the Government was prior to it, and the lifeline it gave to Thatcher. Moving with caddish bounds from obsequious simpering to bovver-boy arrogance, Clark longed for immortality, and in a peculiar way he has found it: as a charmingly solipsistic narcissist, whose irreverence continues to tickle a British funny bone. However, as the mists of time descend, and the footnotes lengthen, perhaps future generations will wonder at such dubious charm, and our more dubious fascination with Clark's rakish progress. --David Vincent
With more than 300,000 copies of the original Diaries sold since their publishing caused a sensation in 1993, here is the long-awaited and posthumous "prequel". Starting in 1972, when Clark was searching for a parliamentary seat and at the same time was given Saltwood Castle in Kent by his father Kenneth Clark (of Civilisation fame), he chronicles election success in Plymouth, and early days in the Commons where Ted Heath has been deposed as leader of the Tories and replaced by Margaret Thatcher. There is Saltwood itself and the countryside surrounding it, there are birds (both feathered and human) and there is his family. At the same time bankruptcy threatens and he is only saved by a remarkable "find" inside Saltwood itself. The climax is the Falklands War - with revelations from a unique political animal with the inside track. At the same time this second volume has all the ingredients of fine writing and humour that made the first volume such a hardback and paperback bestseller. Clark's editor at Weidenfeld, Ion Trewin, also provides the introduction.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Not only are the diaries amusing but they also provide a revealing insight into the political process - in the age of the professional politician the lack of talent, of which Clark cannot be accused, is no bar to the road to the top. At times, Clark seems to be genuinely surprised that his own inate talents have not taken him further sooner. More particularly, the dairies tell us much about the Tory party. It is surprising how soon after the 1979 election the party in Parliament began to have doubts about its leader, a feature mirrored, albeit much sooner, after the 1992 election. In this regard, these diaries should be read in conjunction with Gyles Brandreth's "Breaking the Code", the diaries for the period he spent as a Tory M.P. between 1992 and 1997. Although the styles are different, together the books cast a revealing light on party politics and help to explain, but do not excuse, the gap between the electorate and their elected representatives.
I am often nonpluss to find copies of Alan's diaries so readily available for purchase online. I would have thought by now that the secret was out about Alan's unique and irrepeatable tome and all copies of his diaries present and future are sold out!
Perhaps at last, here is the "Great White Hope" that boxing never quite delivered. Acerbic, hurtful, hypochondriac, lecherous, lazy, shocking, nationalist, odious, philanderer, intolerable BUT equally extremely lovable, intellectual, likeable, original, fresh, interesting, affable, utterly human, devastatingly infectious and a national treasure worthy of a statue in Soho! If I have one regret, it is that Alan Clark did not live long enough to help Boris Johnson pen his diaries!
At once, Alan is utterly repellent and utterly butterly! He loved, adored and often worried about his boys James and Andrew and he was so utterly loving and devoted to Jane - but only God knows how he managed that! I secretly quite like him, adore him even and his writing I love - despite his impossible ways. I am sure my poor mother (RIP) would regret ever bringing me up for saying so. And having just admitted that, never again will I be embarrassed for fancying Diana Rigg in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"!.
Reading his diary and knowing he was real does not detract one bit that it would be impossible to invent Alan - he's that unbelievable!Read more ›
Alan Clark was a privileged man. A toff by his own account with a high opinion of himself. The son of a renowned historian, a playboy who met his wife when she was fourteen and he twenty eight. They married when she was sixteen. They had two sons, he inherited a castle and in 1972 became the candidate elect for Plymouth Sutton for which he became the MP in 1974, retaining his seat as Thatcher swept to power in 1979 through to 1992. He dallied with bankruptcy for a number of years, gambled on the stock exchange, often very successfully. Was a published author of fiction and historical non-fiction, was addicted to Backgammon, a serial adulterer, held views that corresponded with those of the National Front, cherished the Third Reich's attempts at preserving the Saxon bloodline, was a campaigner for animal rights, a believer in the power of god, forever scheming on ways to better place himself in government and above all. Alan Clark was utterly, utterly charming and a quite brilliant conveyor of thought into the written word.
He is the kind of character we find in all races, he was charming, enthralling, aloof and prejudiced, forever scheming.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a gentle, easy read that'll make you gasp, smile, laugh out loud at times (oh yes it will!) and perhaps educate you too. Read morePublished on 16 Mar. 2014 by Dr G
I purchased this as part of the set of three for my husband who has been wanting to read them for some time.Published on 7 Jan. 2013 by G. Braund
The Alan Clark diaries - "Into Politics 1972-1982"
This is the third (a prequel covering his entry into politics) in the series of diaries by Alan Clark - a man of... Read more
I loathed the 80's tories and was on the sauce throughout their reign, and had I met him in real life, would probanbly have vomited.. Read morePublished on 5 Nov. 2008 by hi fi mon amour
I began my journey with Alan Clark with 'In Power', then watched the captivating and hugely entertaining TV series with John Hurt. Read morePublished on 10 Oct. 2008 by Prospero77
I tend to like the bits of Alan Clark some others do not: his love for animals and the living world; his support for Hitler and the German Reich (though inconsistent: he also... Read morePublished on 15 April 2008 by Ian Millard
Another edition of Alan Clarks fascinating diaries which make compelling reading. If you read the first set of Diaries which he published, I guarantee you will not be disappointed... Read morePublished on 18 Nov. 2001