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Diaries: In Power 1983-1992

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  280 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The first volume of Alan Clark's diaries, covering two Parliaments during which he served under Margaret Thatcher - until her ousting in a coup which Clark observed closely from the inside - and then under John Major, constitute the most outspoken and revealing account of British political life ever written. Cabinet colleagues, royalty, ambassadors, civil servants and fore ...more
Published July 3rd 2003 by Phoenix (first published 1993)
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Tim Rideout
Apr 24, 2016 Tim Rideout rated it it was amazing
I read the majority of this book over the last few days during a spell in hospital. Inevitably a time of reflection. While I don't share Clark's political values and beliefs, at the same time I empathised with the inner thoughts expressed in his diary: the disappointment of ambition and expectation, the fears of illness and ageing, the problematic nature of maintaining relationships in a charged political environment.

The diary covers a particularly turbulent time in UK politics with a heavy focu
Gareth Evans
The famous Alan Clark diaries! In a word, disappointing. It's not just that Clark is a jerk, it's also because Clark is never at the heart of things. He is the frustrated middle manager believing that he has more talent than others think; close to the action but not close enough to influence anything. His attitude grates. This is a man who in politics for personal power and the because people who do not buy their own furniture should rule (rule not server). His constituents and the general elect ...more
Oct 23, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a political autobiography for a change, and last year I settled on the well received "Alan Clark Diaries". These are not memoirs. They are exactly what he recorded in his diaries from 1983 to 1991. I think that is why I only read them in chunks. Every couple of months I would read another year's worth. They start with the Conservative's sweeping election victory of June 1983. Clark had been an MP since 1974 and was rewarded that month with his first ministerial post in Margaret ...more
James Aslam-Armitage
Aug 17, 2015 James Aslam-Armitage rated it it was amazing
I read this book yonks ago, probably circa 1995. An excellent read, really made me chuckle, his comments on urinating out of his office window onto passers by really impressed me. As for the politics he really was a Libertarian, not just the mainstream media tag of extreme right winger. No wonder he pops up favourably in Tony Benn's diaries.
Gavin Dobson
Apr 06, 2012 Gavin Dobson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Clark upholds a rich tradition of British journal-writing, incorporating the bawdiness of Boswell with humorous contemporary observations of life in the Thatcher administration. Despite his roguish behaviour and what might today be regarded as political-incorrectness, he comes across as boyishly loveable. He made friends across the political spectrum, key criteria being their entertainment value and ability to engage intellectually as much as their political views. He was also an accomplish ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Clark was a fairy right-wing Conservative who was clever, and could have achieved a great deal in politics had he not liked life in general, and the ladies in particular, so much. The result was that while he did manage to become a junior minister,he didn't rise as high up the party as he could have done (which probably didn't bother him if I'm honest).

This collection of his diary entries shows us what happened in the Conservative Party (and his private life) during the 1980s when the Conse
Sep 20, 2015 Kc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating insight into Tory politics in the 80s. This is an honest account and shows the arrogance and self interest of an entitled MP!
Dec 19, 2014 Phil rated it really liked it
This is a fun little book with a surprisingly frank, unquestionably unreliable narrator.

It follows a junior minister in the 1980s British government over most of the decade.

If one wants to know the cut and thrust of day to day politics in the Tacther government, I feel like house of cards might suit you better, as fictional and sensationalist as it is.

Wonderfully literary and worthy of its note. Read if you are curious about the book, maybe not good for others.
Xan Holbrook
Aug 10, 2014 Xan Holbrook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I am not a conservative and most definitely not a Tory, yet Clark was just to the right of Atilla the Hun, so why do I like it? Clark has the ability to bring one to either shrieks of mirth or silent weeping in a few stark words, as well as providing the most salient example of political writing to come out of the House of Commons. Can good prose be written by reactionaries? I guess it can!
Nov 24, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hamlet said it best, I think; "What a piece of work is a man" . . .
Mr Clark was certainly a 'piece of work'.

At turns entertaining, insightful and always caddishly honest - will be a delight to any devotee of late last century British politics.
Pauline McGonagle
I have never voted Tory in my life but I remember someone levaing this behind in one of the places I lived at some point and I read it.
It really was very entertaining and I enjoyed it despite some of the commentary and unPC views and for the humour and wit.
Dec 31, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the book - it put a lot of the main events of my childhood into a slightly different context - found I had to re-read a lot about the events of the 1970s to 1990s to get the most out of the book but a great read.
John Kerridge
Aug 12, 2012 John Kerridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anybody who finds Margaret Thatchers ankles desirable and admits it gets an automatic 4 stars from me. Apart from that it's a good honest read.
Adam DeVille, Ph.D.
Apr 03, 2013 Adam DeVille, Ph.D. rated it really liked it
All of Clark's diaries are compulsively addictive reading. He was outrageously politically incorrect and all the more hilarious for being so.
Andrew Robins
Feb 24, 2012 Andrew Robins rated it it was amazing
Alan Clark stood for pretty much everything I hated, but he got up to some truly extraordinary stuff and his memoirs are brilliant to read.
Chris Gould
Apr 04, 2012 Chris Gould rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Clark says: they ARE real diaries. Intriguing account of how someone incredibly rich views British politics, women and the world.
Aug 29, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good and funny political memoirs. Good insight into the Thatcher years. He is intelligent and a charmer!
Thomas Boyle
Dec 26, 2011 Thomas Boyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly boorish and obnoxious man but a lovable cad. Fascinating as are all the other volumes.
Sep 06, 2007 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biogautobiog
Surprisingly honest account from a literate, knowledgeable, intelligent and charismatic bounder.
Phil Jones
Jul 06, 2012 Phil Jones rated it really liked it
Not a fan of the Conservatives, but this is a great book none the less.
Apr 15, 2009 P.walsh rated it liked it
Frank and funny.
Sep 16, 2010 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining! Why can't politicians be this way now? I remember that I read this at the end of summer 2004, having just returned from China. The reason that I remember the date is that I actually briefly began writing a diary myself after reading this (I'm very fickle), and wrote at least one entry about the US presidential race in Autumn 2004. So, there you go...
P. W. Lapwing
Jan 23, 2011 P. W. Lapwing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
P. W. Lapwing
Jan 23, 2011 P. W. Lapwing rated it really liked it
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Michael Macdonald rated it it was amazing
Apr 28, 2016
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Alan Clark was an English Conservative MP, historian and diarist.
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