Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Books about Westminster insiders

Andrew Pierce, a political writer for the Times (London), came up with a list of six books about Westminster insiders. You have to know more about British politics than I do to judge if he's chosen well.

A few of the titles and brief descriptions are tantalizing. For example:

First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer
Four men climb the greasy pole, with only one destined to be PM. Entertaining but clearly not autobiographical.

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
Coke-snorting gay Tory dances with Margaret Thatcher in Booker prizewinner.

And then there's this one:

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
Racy post-Thatcher thriller that drew on Dobbs’s experience working for the Tories.
Now, I don't know this novel but I have seen the BBC trilogy that was adapted from it, and it is one of the best political dramas I've ever viewed. Ian Richardson's portrayal of Francis Urquhart, the politician who will stop at nothing to become Prime Minister, is a piece of genius. If you have any taste for politics, this trilogy is a must see; and even if politics is not your bag, you might well consider it.

There is more about the novel and the dramatization--complete with spoilers--at the Wikipedia entry.

To read about the other three titles suggested by Pierce, click here.

One reviewer wrote that another Jeffrey Archer novel exhibited "the writing...of an enthusiastic, over-informed 11-year-old."

Last month, Wayne Terwilliger wrote here on the blog that he "found The Line of Beauty, though well written line by line, ultimately a tedious story of small-minded people acting nastily. (Yes, one could say the same about Madame Bovary but The Line of Beauty is not of that caliber.)"

--Marshal Zeringue