Top positive review
on 13 December 2012
Charting the history of Whitehall from the erection of the cross at Charing to the Gordon Brown government, this book engagingly presents a wealth of information. As a political journalist for the Telegraph the author has an easy to read style and presents many anecdotes and asides throughout in a concise and interesting way. His own dealings with Whitehall's many minions and ministers keep putting the emphasis back on the last 30 years, but do so in a way that puts them in context of this ancient thoroughfare.
There's a lot in here to hold the interest. We're told about the wonderful palace which Henry VIII took from Cardinal Wolsey. We're told how a badly built smallish townhouse happened to become the main residence of the Prime Minister. There's a tantalising section on the many secret tunnels underneath the streets. There's a chilling account of how Whitehall would be defended in the event of Nazi invasion. More than this however is how the wider history unfolded, how events in this street shaped it, and what remains today as physical reminders of these momentous events. A fascinating book, and really brings home how the history of Britain is so bound up in this section of London street.