This was Alan Clark's first volume of diaries and the only one that he recorded. As such, it is a unique and historical record and reminder of the man and his work. To hear Alan Clark reading the book in his marvellously rich voice adds immeasurably to the pleasure of these informative and entertaining diaries.
The recording covers two Parliaments and constitutes the most outspoken and revealing account of British politics ever written. Cabinet colleagues, royalty, ambassadors, civil servants and foreign dignitaries are all subjected to his vivid and acerbic wit. This is a brilliant warts-and-all expose of our political and cultural life.
Clark describes the experience of being drunk after a wine tasting and delivering a statement in the House of Commons - with disastrous consequences; his desire to relieve his bladder from the balcony of his office in Whitehall on the heads of pedestrians walking below; and offers frank descriptions of John Major and Michael Heseltine amongst others.
His personal charm oozes out of these recordings, as does his candour and, on occasions, his bile. But equally the wit and humour are laugh-out-loud funny. He records things which others might only dare think.
Entwined with the politics, though, are revealing glimpses of his private life, which was very colourful, his beloved wife Jane, and also something of the wider culture of Britain in the 1980s.
©1993 The Alan Clark Estate (P)1993 Redbush Entertainment
"One is tempted to tell people to add this book to their stack of books to be read in the bathroom, in the certainty that the reader will light upon something very readable, stimulating, titivating, and immediately gripping." (The Independent)
"His voice and intonation are sublime. The epitome of an old Etonian, he nevertheless effs and blinds his way through the cream of the British political establishment. Now he is no longer with us, I finished listening to the recording and was saddened to think he hadn't recorded the other volumes. Scoop this up now - it's a gem". (Amazon.com review)
You don't have to know a lot about English politics to enjoy this opinionated diary. Lots about character, relationships, ego and devastating insights on government and party politics.
Cleverly written and excellently read, I do wish he had recorded more.
I was looking forward to listening to this as I'm reading the book. But the abridged version is very short, it loses a lot. Alan Clark's voice sounded odd, not suitable for narration, quite tinny. If you can get past all this, the diary reveals some interesting anecdotes, though very little substance, apart from lots of vainglorious narrative.
One of my favourites - I only wish it wasn't the abridged version that I purchased
Fantastic access to an intriguing mind and unashamedly bold character. Incredibly frank opinions from a seemingly callous, insensitive individual are intertwined with brilliantly touching descriptions that prove all the more poignant due to the juxtaposition.
Such a shame we have been deprived of him recording all of his diaries himself!
Thoroughly enjoyable with a great delivery by Alan Clark in that likeable, pompous, no nonsense manner he was known for. Whatever your politics it provides an interesting perspective on the workings of Government.
Two legs. Adequate. I have a middle name.
He was a minister in a government that I despised, but bloody hell he was a deft and luminous writer. Highly recommended.
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