> Skip to content
  • Published: 22 March 2011
  • ISBN: 9781407086927
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480
Categories:

Pistols at Dawn

Two Hundred Years of Political Rivalry from Pitt and Fox to Blair and Brown




A brilliant book about political rivalries through the ages, from the prize-winning biographer and historian

Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone. Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher. Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Personal rivalry is the very stuff of politics. The causes and controversies, the parties and technology may have changed over time but political conflict is still dramatised by the competition of ambitious individuals for the highest offices. Over the past two hundred years the size of the electorate has grown enormously and the means of reaching it transformed out of all recognition but human nature itself hasn't changed.

In his thought-provoking book John Campbell considers eight pairs of rivals and shows how their antagonism, which often evolved into outright loathing, has determined the course of political conflict. In each of his cases studies - Fox and Pitt, Castlereagh and Canning, Gladstone and Disraeli, Asquith and Lloyd George, Bevan and Gaitskell, Macmillan and Butler, Heath and Thatcher, Brown and Blair - he combines a vivid narrative with an authoritative assessment of the historical legacy that reveals how ideology is inextricably entwined with personality.

  • Published: 22 March 2011
  • ISBN: 9781407086927
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480
Categories:

About the author

John Campbell

John Campbell is the author of many biographies including one of Edward Heath, for which he won the 1994 NCR award, The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher, from Grocer's Daughter to Iron Lady and, most recently, Pistols at Dawn: Two Hundred Years of Political Rivalry from Pitt and Fox to Blair and Brown. He is married and lives in Kent.

Also by John Campbell

See all

Praise for Pistols at Dawn

This is a timely book. It comes at a moment when British politics is haunted by the intimate enmity of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and by all its attendant sub-feuds

Richard Vinen, The Sunday Times

A joy to read: meticulously researched, beautifully written and scrupulously fair

Observer

While pistols have long since gone out of fashion, the tradition of the political duel, as John Campbell's delightful book suggests, is far from dead...a wonderfully, irresistibly compelling read.

Dominic Sandbrook, The Telegraph

These eight studies are lively, penetrating, intelligent and, like all Campbell's work, exceptionally well written.

Philip Ziegler, Spectator

A good introduction to British politics

Iain Macwhirter, The Herald

Stylish look at two centuries of quarrels and catfights.

The Sunday Times

Entertaining... An elegantly written, wise and authoritative volume.

David Stenhouse, Scotland on Sunday

One of Britain's finest political biographers... a rattling good read.

Ian Aitken, Guardian

This is a most engaging and rewarding book...stylish, scholarly and notably perceptive

David Brooks, BBC History Magazine

He [Campbell] captures the determining role of personality in politics and the book is strong on tactics, strategy and, most of all, skulduggery

Rohan McWilliam, History Today

a wonderfully, irresistibly compelling read

Telegraph

...cleverly conceived and stylishly executed...

Independent

...well worth staying the course... Campbell's dissection of this last union covers much familiar ground, but he shows just how much a close political relationship can hobble an administration as much as energise it

Independent on Sunday

The book is a joy to read: meticulously researched, beautifully written and scrupulously fair.

Chris Mullen, Observer

stylish book

Sunday Times

Entertaining study

Simon Shaw, Daily Mail

Related titles