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In The Prime Minister: the Office and its Holders since 1945, Peter Hennessy explores the formal powers of the Prime Minister and how each incumbent has made the job his or her own. Drawing on unparalleled access to many of the leading figures, as well as the key civil servants and journalists of each period, he has built up a picture of the hidden nexus of influence and patronage surrounding the office. From recently declassified archival material he reconstructs, often for the first time, precise prime ministerial attitudes towards the key issues of peace and war. He concludes with a controversial assessment of the relative performance of each Prime Minister since 1945, from Clement Atlee and Winston Churchhill to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, and proposes a new specification for the premiership as it enters its fourth century. 'I really can't praise it too highly: a tremendous achievement ... an instant classic'
Antony Jay, author of Yes, Prime Minister 'Supersedes everything else written on the subject. If I were Tony Blair, I'd keep a copy by my bedside'
Adam Sisman, Observer 'A must ... far and away the best account of the office of the First Lord of the Treasury, its history, powers and practice, and an independent assessment of the occupants of Downing Street since the Second World War'
Tony Benn, Spectator 'Important and extremely readable ... Hennessy's portrait of the Blair premiership is fascinating ... a major contribution to our understanding of how we are governed'
Peter Oborne, Sunday Express Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of History at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. Among many other books, he is the author of The Secret State, Whitehall and Never Again: Britain 1945-1951, which in 1993 won the NCR Award for Non-Fiction and the Duff Cooper Prize.
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