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Margot Asquith's Great War Diary 1914-1916: The View from Downing Street Hardcover – 26 Jun 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (26 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198229771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198229773
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.6 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 433,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


This book is full of minor gems, throwing light on the extraordinary domestic bubble within which the wartime premier operated... the editors have provided us with a rollicking good read! (Journal of Liberal History, David Dutton)

Mrs. Asquith's diaries are both entertainingly and splendidly edited by the late Michael Brock and his wife Eleanor and copious footnotes add hugely to the context, accuracy, and frequent inaccuracy, of the writings. Perhaps even more valuable than Margot's own record is the editors' 147-page introduction and its corrective to the reputation of her husband Herbert, and the events of his wartime premiership and government. (Stand-To: Magazine of The Western Front Association, David Filsell)

The diaries may be 100 years old, but political life has changed little, it seems. (Suffolk & Norfolk Life, Chris Green)

Margot Asquith's long-awaited Great War Diary 1914-16 edited by Michael and Eleanor Brock takes the lid of No. 10 during Asquith's difficult wartime premiership, and gives a compelling picture of Liberal England and the belle epoque in meltdown under the nightmare stresses of a war that no one could have predicted or planned for. (Jane Ridley, Book of the Year 2014, Spectator)

The diaries never cease to entertain, and they turn out to be remarkably enlightening too. (London Review of Books, Ferdinand Mount)

Lovingly edited (Andy McSmith, Independent)

Sharply observant, witty, tactless, idiosyncratic, lacking in judgment, acerbic, invariably wrong headed in her loudly voiced opinions, Margot Asquith, was a peerless diarist. With her ringside seat as the wife of the Prime Minister, H. H Asquith, her writing adds an incomparable dimension to our understanding of politics and society during the First World War, its heroes and its incompetents. Superb. (Juliet Gardiner)

Margot Asquith's Great War Diary provides lively and outspoken comments on many of the leading personalities of the era. (Ronald Quinault, History Today)

In a mass of new volumes on the First World War, Margot Asquith's diaries stand out. (Oldie)

This is one diary that pulls no punches. (Steve Craggs, Northern Echo)

The diaries start with the lead-up to war and end with the fall of the last Liberal government and David Lloyd Georges extraordinary coup against the prime minister. Mrs Asquith is well placed to watch it all. Michael and Eleanor Brock have done a fine job as editors. Their footnotes signpost all the major events of the great war and provide the reader with some delicious quotes. (Economist)

[A] beautiful work of conjugal editorship by Eleanor Brock and her late husband. (Miranda Seymour, Daily Mail)

Almost every page of her diary carries an interesting remark. The introduction is a model of its kind, setting people and events in context in masterly fashion. (Johnny Grimond, The Spectator)

They may not constitute the most important historical work published in this centenary year, but by a country mile they are the most entertaining. (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)

Michael and Eleanor Brock have edited Margot's writing with meticulous academic precision. This diary is an invaluable and fascinating text, and we must be thankful to the Brocks for producing it. (Jane Ridley, Literary Review)

Reading these diaries has been a pleasure enhanced by its editors, who have set the stage and introduced the cast with lucidity and scholarship. (The Times)

In the present torrent of books about the Great War, this deserves to stand out. (New Statesman)

This book offers a first-hand insight into what was happening, from the perspective of someone who was at the centre of things ... Once it's on the library shelves it will be worth taking down. (Methodist Recorder)

About the Author

Michael Brock was a modern historian, educationalist, and Oxford college head; he was Vice-President of Wolfson College; Director of the School of Education at Exeter University; Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford; and Warden of St George's House, Windsor Castle; he is the author of The Great Reform Act, and co-editor, with Mark Curthoys, of the two nineteenth-century volumes in the History of the University of Oxford. With his wife, Eleanor Brock, a former schoolteacher, he edited the acclaimed OUP edition H. H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley. Michael Brock died in April 2014.

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