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Small Men on the Wrong Side of History: The Decline, Fall and Unlikely Return of Conservatism

Ed West

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Political ideologies, Humour

Exploring why conservatives have lost almost every political argument since 1945, Ed West looks at this endless litany of failure from the perspective of one of the losers, in a semi-autobiographical, self-deprecating way.

'An entertaining, wide-ranging defence and explanation of the conservative way of seeing the world . . . suffused with generosity and wit' Catholic Herald

Brought up by eccentric intellectuals, Ed West experienced what he believed was a fairly normal childhood of political pamphlets as bedtime reading, family holidays to East Germany and a father who was one political step away from advocating the return of serfdom. In his mid-twenties, West found himself embracing a mindset usually acquired alongside a realisation that all music post-1955 is garbage, agreeing with everything said in the Telegraph and all the other bad things people get in middle age. This is his journey to becoming a real-life Tory boy.


Forgoing the typically tedious and shouty tone of the Right, West provides that rare gem of a conservative book - one that people of any political alignment can read, if only to laugh at West's gallows humour and dry wit. Crammed with self-deprecating anecdotes and enlightening political insights, Tory Boy discloses a life shaped by politics and the realisation that perhaps this obsession does more harm than good.

'Anyone - liberal, conservative, whatever - would enjoy [this book]. It is full of the most fascinating facts, all mixed in with Ed's inimitable displays of self-mockery' Tom Holland 'A self-deprecating and often hilarious memoir of a born conservative watching the world go wrong. Sprinkled with gallows humour, like a political version of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch' The Critic

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Praise for Small Men on the Wrong Side of History: The Decline, Fall and Unlikely Return of Conservatism

  • Most enjoyable - John Rentoul

  • A self-deprecating and often hilarious memoir of a born conservative watching the world go wrong. Sprinkled with gallows humour, like a political version of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch or a humorous version of John O'Farrell's Things Can Only Get Better, it is also crammed with history, political philosophy and social science . . . Behind the dry wit and self-mockery, [West] has something important to say - The Critic

  • Funny and thoughtful - Sam Leith

  • An entertaining, wide-ranging defence and explanation of the conservative way of seeing the world. Alongside some fine knockabout polemic, there is a colourful and lively account of the development of conservatism as a coherent tradition, and a good deal of amusing memoir showing the development of West's worldview . . . West's undoubtedly robust conservatism is nevertheless suffused with generosity and wit. Small Men is not only full of self-deprecating asides but is laugh-out-loud funny - Catholic Herald

  • Insightful, poignant and at times hilarious - The Times

  • Highly entertaining . . . an enjoyable history of conservative thought - Mail on Sunday

  • Anyone - liberal, conservative, whatever - would enjoy Ed West's Small Men on the Wrong Side of History. It is full of the most fascinating facts, all mixed in with Ed's inimitable displays of self-mockery - Tom Holland

  • Funny, candid, wise and prophetic - Colin Brazier

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