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Choose Your Weapons: The British Foreign Secretary

Douglas Hurd

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Prose: non-fiction, General & world history, Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000

'A page-turning book about the history of British foreign policy.'

- Independent.

When writing his magnificent life of Robert Peel, Douglas Hurd found himself caught up again in a debate that has always fascinated him as a former diplomat and Foreign Secretary - the argument between the noisy popular liberal interventionist approach and the more conservative diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between other nations.

Hurd concentrates on personalities and circumstances, beginning with the dramatic antagonism after Waterloo between Canning (liberal, populist, interventionist) and Castlereagh (institutions, compromise, real politics) - the last occasion on which ministerial colleagues fought a duel. Other personalities include Palmerston vs Aberdeen; Disraeli and his old friend and Foreign Secretary, Lord Derby; Salisbury and Edward Grey; and Eden and Bevin, who combined with the Americans to create a post-war compromise, which is coming apart today in an era of terrorism and racial conflict.

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Douglas Hurd

Douglas Hurd is a former Minister for Northern Ireland and Foreign Secretary in Margaret Thatcher's Government. He was also Political Secretary to Edward Heath when he was Prime Minister (1970-74), becoming Lord Hurd of Westwell in the 1997 honours lists.

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