'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.