Books

Blood, Dreams and Gold: The Changing Face of Burma

1st September 2015

THIS is my latest book, the result of five years’ worth of living and working in South-East Asia, based in Singapore. I arrived in the region in September 2010, expecting Burma (or Myanmar as most Burmese now call it) to be well out-of-bounds, as it had been for decades, and to have to sneak in only infrequently, and always surreptitiously, as all foreign journalists were required to do in those far-off days of President Than Shwe’s thuggish military regime. But in October 2010, there were elections,...

Sudan: Darfur and the failure of an African state

8th June 2010

Sudan: Darfur and the failure of an African state was published by Yale University Press in July 2010. I am updating the book now to take account of the break-up of the country in 2011 and the civil war in the south that had raged since then. The new edition should be coming out in the Spring of 2016. It was selected as a “Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2010” in the the Africa Studies category in America, and has been widely used on university and...

Anatomy of Decline: The Journalism of Peter Jenkins

31st August 1995

Largely forgotten now, Peter Jenkins was in his time one of the most widely read and respected columnists and journalists in British journalism. He wrote principally for the leftist Guardian and Observer newspapers, and in so doing became a doyen of Britain’s post-war liberal establishment. Brian Brivati and I edited this collection of his best journalism at the invitation of Jenkins’s widow, Polly Toynbee, herself a long-time columnist for the Guardian. We called the volume Anatomy of Decline because much of his writing in the 1960s...

Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-tanks and the Economic Counter-revolution 1931-1983

19th May 1994

Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-Tanks and the Economic Counter-Revolution, 1931-1983 was published in hardback by HarperCollins in 1994, and in paperback by the same publisher the following year. In brief, the book is an account of the Thatcherite revolution in Britain, from its very beginnings in the 1930s, as a small group of liberal economists fought back against the rising tides of Keynesianism, to the mid-1980s, when Thatcherism was in full flow. My purpose was to analyse and explain how an idea that had become deeply unfashionable...

David Astor and the Observer

10th October 1991

David Astor and the Observer was published in 1991. The book is a hybrid, part newspaper history, part biography – but then David Astor and the Observer were so closely entwined that it was impossible to separate them. The son of Nancy Astor and millionaire American immigrant Viscount William Waldorf Astor, David started working for the family-owned newspaper in his later twenties, and edited it from 1948 to 1976. This was the golden age of this venerable old Sunday, when it came to be the most...

My Dear Max: The Letters of Brendan Bracken to Lord Beaverbrook, 1925-58

30th April 1990

I edited this book in 1990 and it was published by the Historian’s Press. It wasn’t a big print run, which was a mistake as it sold out quickly, mainly due to the strong turnover at Hatchards bookshop on Piccadilly. There was a pile of the books on the front desk, near the till,l that kept on going down at a gratifyingly fast rate. I guess it was mainly the old buffers from the clubs of Pall Mall and St. James’s buying the book, former...

Twilight of Truth: Chamberlain, Appeasement and The Manipulation of the Press

15th June 1989

Twilight of Truth: Chamberlain, Appeasement and The Manipulation of the Press, was my first book published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 1989. It was the book of my Phd Thesis, completed at the University of London in 1988. Lord Weidenfeld personally commissioned it after I had bailed out one of his other book projects. The book is essentially a study of the relationship between politicians and the press during the 1930s and 1940s, focusing in particular on the premiership of Neville Chamberlain and his ill-fated policy...