With unrivalled political savvy and a keen sense of irony, distinguished political scientists Anthony King and Ivor Crewe open our eyes to the worst government horror stories and explain why the British political system is quite so prone to appalling mistakes.
Anthony King is Millennium Professor of British Government at the University of Essex. He broadcasts frequently on politics and elections for the BBC and writes on the same subjects for the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Observer.
‘If Britain’s politicians are among the world’s most honest, hardworking and well-meaning, why do they mess up so badly and so often? A trenchant book that will make you see red, even as you laugh.’
– The Economist, Best Books of 2013
‘This book will make you gasp in disbelief and stamp your feet in rage, and quite frequently reduce you to helpless laughter...it is hard to overpraise.’
– Peter Wilby, Guardian
‘An entertaining journey through the cock-ups of governments.’
‘Perceptive and entertaining… chilling.’
‘Must be read by every incumbent and wannabe representative of the people.’
– Herald, Best Books of 2013
‘A notable indictment of modern British politics and administration… a splendid dipping-into volume to feed fashionable public disdain for the fragile art of politics.’
– Guardian, Best Politics Books of 2013
‘In a refreshing break from the customary finger-pointing tribalism of British politics, Anthony King and Ivor Crewe lay bare the ways in which governments of all hues have wasted mountains of cash on titanically misconceived projects in the past few decades… astonishing.’
‘Fascinating and zeitgeisty.’
– David Aaronovitch, The Times
‘Compelling…David Cameron is said to have read about Winston Churchill’s early warmongering during his summer holidays. It would have been much better for all of us if he had read this.’
– Independent on Sunday
‘Grimly entertaining… This book should be a compulsory text for every would-be minister and permanent secretary.’
– Financial Times
‘This is an astonishing achievement – that very rare thing, a genuinely original book and an immediately essential guide to the failures of British politics. King and Crewe go deep, without a shred of pomposity or a phrase of false rhetoric. From now on, every political journalist, civil servant and would-be minister needs to start here.’
– Andrew Marr
‘A powerful new book.’
– Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
‘The closest politics gets to pornography.’
– Simon Jenkins, Guardian
‘From two of our most brilliant political analysts…[a] thoroughly entertaining and erudite history of great British debacles.’
‘Clever and absorbing.’
– The Times
‘Timely and intelligent.’
‘Rivetingly told…a feast of fiascos, a banquet of balls-ups.’
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