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Distributed for Haus Publishing


Conversations with Politicians

Distributed for Haus Publishing


Conversations with Politicians

“The historian,” wrote E. L. Doctorow, “will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.” This book sees Peter Hennessy and Robert Shepard combine both approaches with the art of the interviewer, a craft at once sensitive and probing.

Reflections collects transcripts of the best interviews from the BBC Radio 4 series Reflections with Peter Hennessy, a show on which the British political elite have spoken candidly about their careers and the moments that came to define their political lives. Supplementing the interviews are short biographies and profiles of the interviewees, allowing readers a fuller picture of each speaker’s background and professional trajectory. This revealing book includes conversations with political heavyweights such as former prime minister John Major; former foreign secretaries Margaret Beckett, David Owen, and Jack Straw; Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock; Liberal Party leader David Steel; and chancellor of exchequer Nigel Lawson. In addition, Reflections presents interviews with leading women, including Shirley Williams and Clare Short, who spent years at the forefront of their parties in Westminster.

The latest volume in the popular Haus Curiosities series, Reflections offers valuable insights from some of today’s most influential political figures.

140 pages | 4 1/4 x 7 | © 2016

Political Science: Political Behavior and Public Opinion

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“Hennessy’s famously disarming manner and deep knowledge (there is no political reference so recondite that Hennessy cannot immediately supply a date or a name) are put to work across the spectrum.”


“Hennessy is . . . the pre-eminent historian of postwar government who got himself a seat in the House of Lords, enabling him to study his subjects close up—and as a result these interviews are unusually informed and revealing.”


“Hennessy knows the ins and outs of post-War British politics so well that he is able to give a little nudge with a quick intervention, sometimes just a few words, when necessary. A true professional, and worthy of reading and rereading for all those who want to know what makes front-line politicians tick.”

Jonathan Fryer

“Peter Hennessy, the political historian and former Times journalist, once said that the main attraction of becoming a peer was so that he could have lunch with his ‘exhibits.’ His latest book, Reflections, collects conversations with those exhibits.”

Times (UK)

"Peter Hennessy’s conversations with leading politicians of our time have reinvented the political interview. Probing, yet sympathetic, thought-provoking and at times moving, they provide a rare glimpse behind the public face and an insight into the background, inspirations and motivations of these key figures."

Carolyn Quinn

"The art of the interview is to caress, coax and cajole your subject into revealing more about themselves than they ever planned to. Peter Hennessy does just that with verve and panache."

Nick Robinson

"Peter Hennessy always combines entertaining verve with immense depth of knowledge and that shines through in this collection."

Martha Kearney

"Peter Hennessy is the perfect companion for a walk through the politics that made our time, and these are conversations that tell so much. Sharp, touching and wise."

James Naughtie

"This is an unusual politics book. It takes the reader inside the heads of some of the towering politicians of our age. Compelling stuff."

Robert Peston

"[A] series of nifty little essays—the thinking person’s commuting read."

Independent, on the Haus Curiosities series

"Haus is to be congratulated for its courage in dusting off the political pamphlet format and publishing a series of essays, short enough to be read in one sitting, in the internet age."

Times Higher Education, on the Haus Curiosities series

Table of Contents

Introduction: The art of political interviewing
Shirley Williams (Baroness Williams of Crosby)
Jack Straw
Norman Tebbit (Lord Tebbit)
Neil Kinnock (Lord Kinnock)
John Major (Sir John Major)
Roy Hattersley (Lord Hattersley)
David Steel (Lord Steel of Aikwood)
Margaret Beckett (Dame Margaret Beckett)
David Owen (Lord Owen)
Nigel Lawson (Lord Lawson of Blaby)
Clare Short
Picture Credits

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