The history of the Conservative party has, extraordinarily, rarely been written in a single volume for the general reader. There are academic multi-volume accounts and a multitude of smaller books with limited historical scope. But now, Robin Harris, Margaret Thatcher's speechwriter and party insider, has produced this authoritative but lively history book which tells the whole story and fills a gaping hole in Britain's historiographical record.
Taking as his starting point the larger than life personalities of the Conservative Party's leaders and prime ministers since its inception, Robin Harris's book also analyses the interconnected themes and issues which have dominated Conservative politics over the years. The careers of Peel, Disraeli, Salisbury, Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Heath, Thatcher, Major, Hague and Cameron together amount to an alternative history of Britain since the early nineteenth century.
This landmark book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in history or politics, or anyone who has ever wondered how Britain came to be the nation it is today.
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Astute, opinionated and unsentimental, Harris makes a robust and entertaining guide to the party's history - The Sunday Times
Robin Harris combines a career of working for the party with the qualifications of a historian. He also writes beautifully, with a perilous sharpness. His account is highly entertaining - Daily Telegraph
A marvel of concision, lucidity and scholarship, with penetrating things to say about Peel, Disraeli, Churchill and the rest. His book can be read for pleasure as well as instruction - Spectator
Harris has come close to producing a classic of popular history... the effect is sometimes dazzling. [He has] an enviable ability to grasp the essence of the characters - London Review of Books
Highly readable, with sparkling portraits of the leading figures, and the author's acerbic observations and pithy judgments, even when one does not agree with them, are always thought-provoking and sometimes pointed enough to make one laugh out loud... this is a good book. I am glad that it was written. And I'm glad that I read it - The Times
Harris writes well and with considerable force - New Statesman
My expectations for this book were high; but Dr. Harris has exceeded them. This book is genuine history written with real authority... finely written and highly readable, with an undercurrent of dry wit running through its narrative - Conservative Home website
Incisive and entertaining - Saturday Telegraph
So enjoyable to read - Mail on Sunday
This well-researched, highly readable and occasionally highly witty account should become the new standard history of the Tory Party, and required reading for all MPs - Standpoint
Lively and trenchant - Total Politics
His is a book for the intelligent layman... it is a beautifully written, well paced and penetrating study of the oldest and most successful political party on Earth. Every Conservative should read this book. It confronts us unflinchingly with the failures of our party of the years. Yet is also serves to remind us of why we became Conservatives in the first place - Daily Telegraph website
Readers looking for a sweeping and superbly written study of the British Conservative Party should look no further than Robin Harris’ The Conservatives: A History. To say that his ferocious intellect and eye for detail is legendary in conservative circles in London would be an understatement... On both sides of the Atlantic, his book is indispensable reading - Heritage.org
Robin Harris began to work for the Conservative Party in 1978, becoming Director of the Conservative Research Department, a government political adviser and a member of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's Policy Unit. When Mrs Thatcher left Downing Street, so did he, going on to assist her with books and speeches. In recent years, he has written an authoritative history of the city state of Dubrovnik and an acclaimed biography of the French statesman Talleyrand. He is currently working on a biography of Margaret Thatcher. He lives in Cornwall.