Douglas Hurd - Choose Your Weapons - Orion Publishing Group
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    • ISBN:9780753828526
    • Publication date:20 Jan 2011

Choose Your Weapons

By Douglas Hurd

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The great office of Foreign Secretary, its conflicts and its personalities from Napoleonic times to the post-war era.

When writing his magnificent life of Robert Peel, Douglas Hurd found himself caught up again in a debate that has always fascinated him as a former diplomat and Foreign Secretary - the argument between the noisy popular liberal interventionist approach and the more conservative diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between other nations. The argument has run for two centuries - and is at the heart of heated discussion on both sides of the Atlantic today.

Hurd concentrates on personalities and circumstances. He begins with the dramatic antagonism after Waterloo between Canning (liberal, populist, interventionist) and Castlereagh (institutions, compromise, real politics) - the last occasion on which ministerial colleagues fought a duel. A generation later comes Palmerston vs Aberdeen, from which Palmerston, the noisy interventionist, emerged the victor. A fascinating, but forgotten vignette is provided by the quarrel between Disraeli and his old friend and Foreign Secretary, Lord Derby, which led to Derby resigning as a protest against jingoism and Disraeli spreading the rumour that Lady Derby was leaking secrets to the Russian Ambassador. Salisbury and then Edward Grey wrestled with the same dilemma in the context of imperialism (Salisbury) and the European balance of power (Grey). Between the wars, another vignette describing Austen Chamberlain, the decent, monocled Foreign Secretary who began as an idealist (Locarno Treaty) and ended as a passionate opponent of appeasement. Finally Eden and Bevin, from wholly different backgrounds, combined with the Americans to create a post-war compromise, which served its purpose for half a century, but is coming apart today as the old questions resurface in new and savage forms in an era of terrorism and racial conflict.

Biographical Notes

Douglas Hurd was an MP from 1974 to 1997, he served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. He is the (co-)author of many thrillers including IMAGE IN THE WATER, his MEMOIRS and the highly acclaimed ROBERT PEEL.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780297858515
  • Publication date: 28 Mar 2013
  • Page count: 400


Douglas Hurd, Edward Young

History of the English Speaking Peoples: Volume 4

Winston Churchill

In this final volume, the century from the downfall of Napoleon in 1815 to the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 is covered. The British Empire is at its peak, the Dominions are created and the first steps towards the British Commonwealth of Nations are established. Together with the industrial revolutuion and the startling expansion of the United States, and their rise to world power, made the nineteenth century one of the most decisive in the history of mankind.Volume I: The Birth of BritainVolume II: The New WorldVolume III: The Age of RevolutionVolume IV: The Great Democracies


Robert Peel

Douglas Hurd

Robert Peel, as much as any man in the nineteenth century, transformed Great Britain into a modern nation. He invented our police force, which became a model for the world. He steered through the Bill which allowed Catholics to sit in Parliament. He reorganised the criminal justice system. Above all he tackled poverty by repealing the Corn Laws. Thanks to Peel the most powerful trading nation chose free trade and opened the door for our globalised world of today. Peel was not all politics. He built two great houses, filled them with famous pictures and was devoted to a beautiful wife. Many followers never forgave him for splitting his Party. But when in 1850 he was carried home after a fall from his horse crowds gathered outside, mainly of working people, to read the medical bulletins. When he died a few days later, factories closed, flags flew at half mast and thousands contributed small sums to memorials in his honour. He was the man who provided cheap bread and sacrificed his career for the welfare of ordinary people.

Edward Young

Edward Young gained a first-class degree in history from Clare College, Cambridge, and won a Mellon Scholarship to Yale where he studied history and international relations as part of the Grand Strategy Program. He has since worked as a speechwriter for David Cameron and as Chief of Staff to the Conservative Party Chairman. He currently works at Brunswick Group LLC. Disraeli is Edward's third book in collaboration with Lord Hurd, having worked as a research assistant for his biography of Sir Robert Peel, and co-authoring Choose Your Weapons, a history of British foreign policy.


Harold Macmillan

Charles Williams

Harold Macmillan was a figure of paradox. Outwardly, it was Edwardian elegance and civilised urbanity. Inwardly, it was emotional damage from his wife's open adultery and his progressive perplexity at the onward march of time. The First World War showed the courageous soldier. From then on, it was politics, rather than the family business of publishing, which was to be his future. Nevertheless, although he supported Churchill in the 1930s he was deemed boring - and certainly not ministerial material.All changed with the Second World War. Appointed Minister in Residence in North Africa, Macmillan's career flowered. After the War he became indispensable to Conservative Cabinets and as Churchill's Minister of Housing in the early 1950s he achieved the target, against all expectations, of 300,000 houses annually. Thereafter, he was Eden's Foreign Secretary and Chancellor but by then Macmillan had become openly ambitious. Over the Suez affair in 1956 he played a difficult - and somewhat devious - hand. Eden's resignation left him as the clear choice of his Cabinet colleagues to become Prime Minister.From 1957 to 1962, Macmillan was a good - some would say a great - Prime Minister. By 1962, however, his government was looking tired. The Profumo affair in 1963 was particularly damaging, and in the autumn of 1963 his health forced him to retire.Charles Williams addresses - among many other hitherto unanswered questions - whether it was Harold Macmillan's personal life that prevented him from achieving true greatness or whether he became simply out of date.



Dominic Prince

Derby Day, 1913. Two hundred and fifty thousand people, from dustmen to duchesses, surge onto the Epsom Downs for the greatest race of the year. But among the happy crowds, there are dark schemes under way. For months a group of wild gamblers have been training Aboyeur, their savage thoroughbred, in secret. Weighted down, and made to endure endless hours on a treadmill and in a 'hot box' during the day, but allowed to fly under the night-time darkness of Salisbury Plain, Aboyeur is set to fool the bookmakers and win millions for his masters. Central to the plan is Ingram Piper, the young man whose nerve will be tested to the limit. But when Ingram's friend, the fearless suffragette, Emily Davison, arrives at the racetrack and sets her sights on the King's horse, fates will collide in the most devastating way. THROWN is the story of a stable lad and a suffragette, their reckless courage and doomed friendship, and the thrilling race that binds them together. In the tragedy that unfolds, fortunes are made and lost, hearts are broken and the course of history will change for ever.


Britain Since 1918

David Marquand

The history of democratic politics in Britain since the coming of universal male suffrage in 1918 is a dramatic one, crowded with events and colourful figures. As well as the great events of war and economic crises, and the quieter drama of constitutional change, this era has been studded with democratic protests of every sort.The story opens more than 350 years ago. The Levellers of the 17th century, 18th-century radicals, the Chartists and the Reform Acts are all part of the unsteady and fiercely contested progress towards a democratic constitution. Dreams, visions and ideals are important too - of George Orwell, and Enoch Powell, Milton, Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke, Churchill and Lord Salisbury, Aneurin Bevan and Tony Benn - for they have also shaped our outlook.


Getting Our Way

Christopher Meyer


Ruth Cowen
Disraeli by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young and Time's Anvil by Richard Morris

NEWS: Two Weidenfeld & Nicolson titles Longlisted for Samuel Johnson Prize

Weidenfeld & Nicolson are delighted to have two books on the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013, Disraeli by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young and Time’s Anvil by Richard Morris. The shortlist will be announced on 30 September and the winner on 4 November.

Douglas Hurd

Former diplomat, private secretary to Edward Heath (as Ldr of the Opposition and as PM); MP 1974-97. Served Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as Home Secretary and as Foreign Secretary. As a writer is the (co-)author of many thrillers including IMAGE IN THE WATER, his MEMOIRS in 2003 and other non-fiction titles.

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