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The British General Election of 1997 Paperback – 5 Nov 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1997 edition (5 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333647769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333647769
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'The British General Election of 1997, by David Butler and Denis Kavanagh, the latest contribution to one of the great oeuvres of British political science.' - Siôn Simon, Times Literary Supplement

'...By the late Fifties the Nuffield studies had become part of the election ritual and David Butler himself a national monument. Extraordinarily, he has now been doing this job for over fifty years...It is now evident that Butler's (and, since 1974, Dennis Kavanagh's work is irreplaceable: each volume includes things a political historian needs to know and can find nowhere else.' - London Review of Books

'Nuffield studies, which have come out every election since 1945 and are treated by political scientists as near-definitive.' - Guardian

'Every election, however predictable its outcome, is a sacred moment when politicians briefly return power to the people. A healthy democracy requires that such moments are not only honoured at the time but properly chronicled and remembered...the combination of computer technology, modern communication systems and the applications of the latest advertising techniques surely justifies the author's description of the 1997 compaign as the most innovative since 1959...the book's biggest immediate benefit is that it dispels some of the myths that have tended to envelop the election. Despite claims to the contrary, the decision of traditionally Tory newspapers to back Labour had little or no effect on the number of seats each party won; nor did the intervention of Sir James Goldsmith's Referendum Party; nor did the fall in turnout...The Nuffield series is one that, were it not to exist, would definitely need to be invented.' - Peter Kellner, Times Literary Supplement

'...as David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh relate, the [1997] election turned out to be as fascinating as any of its predecessors...Yet even so clear-cut contest throws up some paradoxes...British elections are, great begetters of myths and half-baked speculation...The Nuffield election studies, of which this is the fifteenth, were set up in 1945 in order that such dangerous simplifications should be strangled at birth, or at least in their infancy. Published within a few months of the election, they combine the immediacy of insider journalism with the dispassionate and scholarly analysis expected of academics. Like its predecessors, the 1997 volume is first and foremost an authoritative 'Political Wisden' of the campaign and result. But it is also full of the insights that come from years of observation and the wealth of unattributable comment that the authors, with their unmatched access to politicians and their advisers, are well placed to acquire.' - Nick Owen, Oxford Magazine

'This book oozes authority - and it has to, since 1997 was an election to conjure with. All sorts of records were broken...If you want to know the facts of the election, this is the book for you. Butler and Kavanagh's experience and their access to key figures in all the parties also give them a unique inside track on the election. Their opinions count, as well as the facts that they report.' - Alan Leaman, Liberal Democrat News

'Indispensable.' - David McKie, Guardian

'The Nuffield general election books, are almost part of the British constitution, though much more solid and authoritative. They have become such familiar and comfortable pieces of scholarly furniture that we take the quality and prompt delivery too easily for granted, understanding the durable design and the consistent craftsmanship.' - Ivor Crewe, New Statesman

'For Labour readers, The British General Election of 1997 will be a joy on every page...the authors trace in all its glory Labour's path to power...For Conservative readers, however, every chapter of the book is an exquisite torture. Tory deficiencies, errors and failures are

About the Author

DAVID BUTLER, a Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, has been associated with the Nuffield election studies since 1945 and has been the author or co-author of each one since 1951. He is well known for his election commentaries on television and radio, and he has written widely on British, American and Australian politics.

DENNIS KAVANAGH is Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool, having previously been Professor of Politics at the University of Nottingham and Senior Lecturer in Government at Manchester University. His works include Political Science and Political Behaviour, Thatcherism and British Politics, British Politics: Continuities and Change, Politics and Personalities, and The Politics of the Labour Party. He has been the co-author of the Nuffield election studies from 1974 onwards.

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By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
This edition in the Nuffield series of general election studies continued the fine record of relatively quickly producing a standard reference work which, if it will not answer all your questions about the election, will still give you an excellent starting point.

Four chapters give an account of politics in 1992-97. Although quite workmanlike, the account adds very little to what journalists have already, at some length, said. Whilst in previous volumes the equivalent accounts often added interesting new information, the growth in political coverage and analysis in the media means that much of what they say now has already been said too often by others.

The book also often seems to lapse into Private Eye style – pointing out coincidences and thereby implying misdeeds without producing any hard evidence for a connection. For example, after mentioning the Sun’s switch to support Labour the book merely adds “It was noted that Labour had dropped its plans to block cross-media ownership.” With the authors’ long contacts with many senior politicians, the reader could reasonably have hoped for a bit more analysis than this.

The book concentrates heavily on Westminster politics, and the section on the Liberal Democrats is fairly brief. However, once the book moves onto account of the general election there is plenty of coverage – much of it favourable – of the Liberal Democrats. Other parties also get a look in, with all the significant minor parties (and several others) getting a mention.
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"Happy with service, no complaints"
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great A+++
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