Catalogue


Harold Macmillan /
Charles Williams.
imprint
London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009.
description
xi, 548 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0297851942 (hbk.), 9780297851943 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009.
isbn
0297851942 (hbk.)
9780297851943 (hbk.)
catalogue key
6887515
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [479]-517) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
'a bright, swift-moving biography, without party-political rancour '
'a fine achievement, fair in tone and spare in style. This thoroughly absorbing book chronicles the tragic Odyssey of an almost great man.'
'a keen eye for personality and drama... this fluid and engaging new biography... give[s] readers a ringside view of the politican in the making.'
"A splendid popular biography . . . recounted with verve and anecdotal warmth, along with fresh appraisals of de Gaulle's career as soldier, politician, and head of state." --Publishers Weekly on The Last Great Frenchman
"A splendid popular biography . . . recounted with verve and anecdotal warmth, along with fresh appraisals of de Gaulle's career as soldier, politician, and head of state."--Publishers WeeklyonThe Last Great Frenchman
'Charles Williams' biography is an antidote to nostalgia... a lean compelling narrative with a more detached and critical point of view.'
'Charles Williams's thoughtful and well-informed new life... comes as a welcome treat... he captures better than any other writer the tensions between the different facets of Macmillan's personality'
"In this work of cool authority, Williams . . . accomplishes one of the most difficult of the historian's tasks: he strips away what we know now in order to reveal what his subjects knew then." --The Atlantic Monthly on Petain
"In this work of cool authority, Williams . . . accomplishes one of the most difficult of the historian's tasks: he strips away what we know now in order to reveal what his subjects knew then." --The Atlantic MonthlyonPetain
"In this work of cool authority, Williams . . . accomplishes one of the most difficult of the historian's tasks: he strips away what we know now in order to reveal what his subjects knew then." -The Atlantic Monthly on P├ętain
'It is not only well researched and beautifully crafted but also enlivened by the insights of an experienced politician.'
'It is the great contribution of this new biography by a Labour peer to show the role domestic tragedy played in Macmillan's political achievement.'
'This new biography... brings the Macmillan era back to life in vivid style. It is a first-class biography... most fascinating of all is the way he describes in great detail, pathos and sympathy the extraordinary emotional tragedy that haunted much of Macmillan's political career'
"Utterly compelling." --Martin Gilbert, author, Churchill: A Life
"Utterly compelling." --Martin Gilbert, author,Churchill: A Life
'[Williams] has produced a biography that... is a model of its kind - diligently researched, gracefully written and never short of absorbing.'
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is the biography of the great Conservative Prime Minister (and publisher) - Harold Macmillan (1894-1986).
Main Description
Harold Macmillan was the British Conservative Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963. A man of civilized, humane conceptions of the purposes of government, he was also a figure of paradox. Beneath the studied Edwardian manner was a subtle and acute intelligence. His reputation for unflappability concealed a temperament of surprising sensitivity. The reassuring father figure who seemed a guarantee of continuity showed a willingness to change direction matched by few of his predecessors. In the 1930s he was right when his contemporaries were wrong; in the 1950s on his accession to the premiership, he was able to restore unity, morale, and self-respect to his party and his country. In the 1960s, he put Britain on a course to a new role within Europe, withdrew from Empire, and was in part responsible for the Test Ban Treaty which marked the beginnings of a detente between the West and Soviet Russia. Personified as "Supermac" in popular cartoons, he was an early master of the soundbite, and his phrasemaking still occupies any dictionary of quotations--"a little local difficulty" (on the resignation of his entire Treasury team); "a wind of change" (decolonization of Africa); and "selling off the family silver" (his 1984 anti-Thatcherite maiden speech in the House of Lords).
Main Description
Harold Macmillan was the British Conservative Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963. A man of civilized, humane conceptions of the purposes of government, he was also a figure of paradox. Beneath the studied Edwardian manner was a subtle and acute intelligence. His reputation for unflappability concealed a temperament of surprising sensitivity. The reassuring father figure who seemed a guarantee of continuity showed a willingness to change direction matched by few of his predecessors. In the 1930s he was right when his contemporaries were wrong; in the 1950s on his accession to the premiership, he was able to restore unity, morale, and self-respect to his party and his country. In the 1960s, he put Britain on a course to a new role within Europe, withdrew from Empire, and was in part responsible for the Test Ban Treaty which marked the beginnings of a detente between the West and Soviet Russia. Personified as "Supermac" in popular cartoons, he was an early master of the soundbite, and his phrasemaking still occupies any dictionary of quotations"a little local difficulty" (on the resignation of his entire Treasury team); "a wind of change" (decolonization of Africa); and "selling off the family silver" (his 1984 anti-Thatcherite maiden speech in the House of Lords).
Main Description
Harold Macmillan was a figure of paradox. Outwardly, it was Edwardian elegance and civilised urbanity. Inwardly, it was emotional damage from his wife's open adultery and his progressive perplexity at the onward march of time. The First World War showed the courageous soldier. From then on, it was politics, rather than the family business of publishing, which was to be his future. Nevertheless, although he supported Churchill in the 1930s he was deemed boring - and certainly not ministerial material. All changed with the Second World War. Appointed Minister in Residence in North Africa, Macmillan's career flowered. After the War he became indispensable to Conservative Cabinets and as Churchill's Minister of Housing in the early 1950s he achieved the target, against all expectations, of 300,000 houses annually. Thereafter, he was Eden's Foreign Secretary and Chancellor but by then Macmillan had become openly ambitious. Over the Suez affair in 1956 he played a difficult - and somewhat devious - hand. Eden's resignation left him as the clear choice of his Cabinet colleagues to become Prime Minister. From 1957 to 1962, Macmillan was a good - some would say a great - Prime Minister. By 1962, however, his government was looking tired. The Profumo affair in 1963 was particularly damaging, and in the autumn of 1963 his health forced him to retire. Charles Williams addresses - among many other hitherto unanswered questions - whether it was Harold Macmillan's personal life that prevented him from achieving true greatness or whether he became simply out of date.
Table of Contents
Preface I
Prologue
'The Old Rouge'p. 5
'Balliol Made Me, Balliol Fed Me'p. 20
'I Was Very Frightened'p. 32
'I Do Hope It Is Alright'p. 47
'I Had Never Been To Tees-side'p. 59
'Why Did You Ever Wake Me?'p. 73
The First Act
'Very Much the Minister Nowadays'p. 93
Greeks, Romans and Frenchmenp. 109
'A Marriage Has Been Arranged'p. 129
'People Get Very Peculiar After a Time'p. 153
Waiting in the Wings
A Stranger at Homep. 179
'This New Opportunity'p. 191
'Shall I Ever Be Foreign Secretary?'p. 206
Ambitionp. 224
'We Must Make Use of Israel'p. 241
'The Last Gasp of a Declining Power'p. 258
Centre Stage
The Tory Resurrectionp. 279
'You Almost Feel Yourself a Statesman'p. 298
The Prime Ministerp. 318
'All the Political Domestic Mileage He Can Get'p. 323
'The Tories Must Wake Up'p. 336
Le Double Jeup. 351
Enter JFKp. 372
'I Am Ageing'p. 387
'They Don't Really Smile'p. 401
'We've Got To Do Something for Harold'p. 414
'Butler Would Be Fatal'p. 443
The Last Act
The End of the Dayp. 457
Epiloguep. 469
Notesp. 479
Note on Sourcesp. 511
Select Bibliographyp. 513
Acknowledgementsp. 518
Indexp. 520
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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