"Personal rivalry is the very stuff of politics. The causes and controversies, the parties and the technology have changed, but political conflict is still dramatised by the competition of ambitious individuals for the highest offices. Over the past two hundred years, the size of the electorate has grown enormously and the means of reaching it transformed out of all recognition; the chamber of the House of Commons has been usurped as the forum for national debate first by public meetings, press and television and now by the Internet. But human nature does not change. The lure of power still attracts men, and now women, keen to cross swords and bandy arguments, scheme and manoeuvre for advancement, clothing ambition in a cloak of high principle and public service. In almost every period, outstanding champions arise to embody the dominating movements and ideas of the time, defining themselves against each other and shaping the political argument of the day in their own image. Peace or war; protection or free tra"
"One of Britain's finest political biographers... a rattling good read" -- Ian Aitken * Guardian *
"While pistols have long since gone out of fashion, the tradition of the political duel, as John Campbell's delightful book suggests, is far from dead...a wonderfully, irresistibly compelling read" -- Dominic Sandbrook * The Telegraph *
"These eight studies are lively, penetrating, intelligent and, like all Campbell's work, exceptionally well written" -- Philip Ziegler * Spectator *
"A good introduction to British politics" -- Iain Macwhirter * The Herald *
"A joy to read: meticulously researched, beautifully written and scrupulously fair" * Observer *