Diaries 1987-1992

Diaries 1987-1992

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In the late 1980s, when she began keeping a diary, Edwina Currie was the second most prominent woman in British politics - after Margaret Thatcher. Indeed, she was often spoken of as a potential prime minister. Her outspokenness and her lively, media-friendly personality won her a much higher profile than her status as a junior minister would otherwise have commanded. When she was forced to resign from the Government after warning of the danger signs of salmonella infection in eggs, she was already a national figure. The appearance of these diaries is a significant publishing event. Like Alan Clark's diaries, they provide an insight into politics at the top, by a writer with an observant eye and a sharp sense of humour. Edwina Currie's honesty, frankness and courage make these unexpurgated diaries an irresistible read. Their revelation of her four-year affair with former Prime Minister John Major has already been a media sensation.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 158 x 234 x 34mm | 680.39g
  • Little, Brown & Company
  • New York, United States
  • 8pp b&w photographs
  • 0316860247
  • 9780316860246

Review Text

Now that the dust has settled on her sensational revelation of a four-year affair with John Major (somewhat coyly referred to in the footnotes as 'EC's highly-placed lover'), what else does Edwina Currie have to tell us about her five years as a junior minister in the Thatcher government? It is clear from the outset that Mrs Currie is not lacking in self-esteem, and it is no doubt this, combined with her legendary outspokenness, undoubted media-friendliness and naked ambition that led to her being, according to some opinion polls, the most prominent woman in British politics after Mrs Thatcher. This was no mean feat for a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and one could be forgiven for thinking that her forced resignation over the scandal of salmonella in eggs was a crushing blow for such an obvious leading light in Tory politics. Not so, it seems, as she recounts in these apparently unexpurgated diaries her frustration with the tedium of ministerial duties, the endless red boxes and adjournment debates and the clashes with her bosses, first John Moore, who comes in for relentless criticism, and then Ken Clarke, whose abilities as a politician she respected but whose human qualities she found distinctly lacking. No, the loss of ministerial office gave her the chance she had been looking for to further her literary ambitions and, above all, to make money. With disarming, indeed somewhat alarming, frankness, she regales us at length with details of her bank balances, the lucrative publishing deals clinched after her resignation and her 'trivial objective... to get to the end of this Parliament with a fur coat and some decent jewellery'. In the light of such candid admissions, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that these diaries were written, and their release date carefully chosen, to produce the maximum financial gain for Currie. Indeed, the lack of any real analysis of political events would tend to confirm this - a cursory glance at the index reveals that this is far more a book about personalities than a serious attempt to leave a document of historical interest and significance in the vein of, say, Tony Benn. For all this, though, the diaries are written with all the vibrancy and outspoken wit that made Currie so successful in the public eye, and they make for an entertaining read. (Kirkus UK)show more

Author information

Edwina Currie is a former Government minister and for fourteen years was the well-known Member of Parliament for Derbyshire South.show more

Review quote

'An important and revelatory set of diaries' - The Timesshow more

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3 80% (8)
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