The Conservative Party has been the dominant force in twentieth-century British politics. On its own or as the predominant partner in a coalition it has held power for more than sixty years since 1900. Despite this it has been the most neglected and misunderstood of all the main parties. This book is the first systematic attempt to survey the history and politics of the Conservative Party across the whole of the twentieth century from the 'Khaki' election of 1900 to John Major's victory of 1992 and beyond. Traditional boundaries between history and political science have been ignored, with each of the authoritative team of contributors pursuing an important theme within three main areas; the composition and structure of the Party; its ideas, policies and actions in government; and its public image and sources of support in the country. The essays are based upon new research, in particular in the Conservative Party archives. Conservative Century will be essential reading for both students and specialists, and it offers a mine of fascinating information for anyone interested in British politics.
a rich mine of fact and opinion for those seeking a solution to the riddle ... Anthony Seldon and the institute of British History have, over the last 10 years, performed a remarkable service in stimulating writing and discussion about recent British history. Conservative Century is one of their grandest achievements ... admirable book ... This book offers a wonderfully comprehensive description of the evolution of the most triumphantly and sustainedly
successful right-wing party that democracy has ever known. * David Butler, Exeter College, Oxford, Sage Publications * A brief survey can only suggest the wealth of information the book contains and the originality with which much of it is handled. Seldon, Ball, and their colleagues have given us a book that admirably fulfills its announced goal of providing "the first point of reference for students and a wider interested public", while developing new analyses, based on original research, for scholarly consideration. It promises to remain so for all subsequent studies of the
twentieth-century Conservative Party and perhaps for that of the twenty-first, as well. * John A. Hutcheson, Jr, Dalton College, Albion, Winter '95 * this is a competent collection and well worth its cover price * Harriet Jones, History Today * In 20 thematic chapters this collection skilfully analyses the highly-nuanced relations which have characterised the twentieth-century British Conservative Party ... This is a superb collection of essays ... It amply justifies its editors' claim to provide a `significant reassessment' of the modern Conservative Party. The book contains a comprehensive bibliographical essay which will be of value to all students of the party, useful appendices and plenty of
photographs. It is excellent value. * Political Studies * `wide-ranging and thought-provoking volume ... Virtually every essay in the book earns its keep as an accessible introduction to its assigned topic; and some go further in staking out challenging interpretations. The need for adroitness in catching the tide is one message which the new Labour party ought to learn from this valuable study of its tough, wily, resilient, shrewd, adaptable - and often remarkably lucky - opponents.'
London Review of Books `a sympathetic new history'
Financial Times `could be given to any Labour or Lib-Dem politician in the country. Reading it should make them humble, as they realise just how little is known about the Tories.'
New Statesman & Society `Conservative Century is the most comprehensive and authoritative work so far on the history of the Conservative Party since Lord Salisbury's electoral victory in 1895. ... packed with information, tables and illustrations inaccessible elsewhere without endless research. The price is remarkably cheap and a credit to the OUP. ... The work ought to be on every Tory bookshelf, and even opponents could profit from it.'
The Times `20 essays ... of the highest quality ... scintillating'