John Major’s autobiography is one of the most personal and revealing ever written by a former British Prime Minister.
Major’s early life was extraordinary; his rise through Parliament meteoric. Soon a favourite of Margaret Thatcher, he became Foreign Secretary and then Chancellor of the Exchequer. When Thatcher fell, he fought and won a shrewd campaign to succeed her.
John Major then went on to win a remarkable victory in the General Election of 1992. He brought down inflation and ushered in a solid economic recovery. He made the most decisive steps for a generation towards peace in Northern Ireland and his fourth consecutive term of Conservative government included reforms to the structure and culture of public services.
Yet within months of the 1992 election his Government was in troubled waters. John Major is candid about his fight to keep Sterling in the Exchange Rate Mechanism and for the first time makes public his reactions to defeat on ‘Black Wednesday’. He sets out his hopes for Europe, his views on the single currency and is frank about the civil war that emerged within his own party over Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
He is honest about what he won and what he lost and about friends and foes within his own Party as well as outside. He writes revealingly about the pressures of life on the world stage and within No. 10.
In his leadership of his Party and his country and in facing up to the new order after May 1997, John Major acted with a dignity rare in politics. His party’s continuing internal struggles since their defeat serve only to intensify interest in his leadership through the Tories’ last period of power this century. Those to whom John Major’s outward appearance has sometimes seemed reserved will be surprised at this sharp and deeply felt account.
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‘Compelling… a classic of holding the reader’s attention which many fiction writers might envy’
Roy Jenkins, Evening Standard
‘Unsparing… vivid… witty as well as wise’
Geoffrey Howe, Independent
‘One of the few post-war political autobiographies that will endure… compulsively readable and remarkably objective… deeply moving’
Bruce Anderson, Daily Telegraph
Born in 1943, John Major was a member of Lambeth Borough Council 1968-71, then entered Parliament in 1979; he was PPS to Ministers of State at the Home Office 1981-83, an assistant Govt Whip 1983-4, a Govt Whip 1984-5, Minister for Social Security 1986-7, Chief Sec. to HM Treasury 1987-9; Foreign Secretary 1989, Chancellor 1989-90, and Prime Minister 1990-97.
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