Harold Macmillan: Volume 2: 1957-1986
By Sir Alistair Horne
Why this book?
It is rare for anyone with real power to write an interesting diary. They do not have the time or the self-awareness. Harold Macmillan is the exception because his diaries are fantastic and those that he writes as prime minister are much better than those that he writes earlier in his career. He is such a lonely man (England’s most famous cuckold) and one senses that his diary is his only real confidant. He is also so extraordinarily aware of historical change. He is himself a considerable historian and one who reads very widely even when prime minister. There is a moment in the early 1960s when he gets back to Downing Street after a weekend in the country and writes in his diary about having read Theodore Zeldin’s, The Political System of Napoleon III – not exactly bedtime reading for most people but a work that inspires Macmillan into some interesting reflections on Charles de Gaulle.
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