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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 April 2015
Interesting for the facts, if not the slant. The author seemed to take the view that anyone that disliked both Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher, must be someone wonderful. And the conclusions, written in 1993, are so out of date and just plain wrong today. For example, he concluded that Heath was right about the EEC in that it was becoming universally accepted in the country and was never going to become a big issue. Even a year or two later, this was becoming questionable. And as for today, ...
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on 26 May 2016
As a young man in my twenties I remember the events outlined in this autobiography. I recommend this book to anyone interested in this period of history. It shows that a young boy or girl from a working class family, can make it with hard work and determination.
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on 2 December 2005
Campbell is usually a great writer, unfortunately here he allows personal prejudice to distort his historical judgement. He spends most of the time trying to rehabilitate Edward Heath as a Prime Minister of note, rather than making a balanced and fair assessment of his record in office. Indeed, this is not so much, strictly speaking, a biography, as a polemic in support of Heath's record.
By any measure, the Heath government cannot be viewed as a success. Four depressing years, followed by defeat in a mis-timed General Election. The economic u-turn, the poor terms under which Britain entered the European Community, the Three Day Week, the power cuts and his dreadful handling of industrial relations are all glossed over here, in this apologia for one of the twentieth century's least successful Prime Ministers. One suspects that Campbell is just attempting to boost the deeply flawed Heath at the expense of his successor Thatcher, who Campbell clearly dislikes.
Above all, Campbell fails to make a critical analysis of his subject's persona. Heath is a fascinating person in this regard, especially with his legendary rude pomposity and sexual repression, but he escapes Campbell completely. This is a pity as his books on FE Smith and Nye Bevan are really impressive.
A detailed, balanced, biography of Ted Heath is eagerly awaited. In the meantime, don't bother with this exercise in hagiography.
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on 23 March 2003
This is a first-rate study of an underrated figure who is in danger of being overlooked by future generations. John Campbell makes a compelling case for Heath as a good prime minister who was overwhelmed by the economic crises that beset the West in the early 1970s. As a result, his is a political career that is defined by its failures (losing three of four elections while the leader of the Conservative Party) and is being overshadowed by those of his contemporaries -- Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher -- rather than for his critical role in the most important event of Britain's post-1945 history: entry into the European Economic Community and the European Union that followed. A well-written account of the man's life and the times in which he lived, this book is an important step towards according Heath his rightful place in history.
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on 14 July 2015
a little boring in places, but interesting in others.
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on 25 May 2010
Detailed and well researched. However, Ted Heath is just plain boring after a while. I gave up after a few hundred pages and started reading a book on cricket by Richie Benaud, which has proved far more entertaining.
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