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Images of The National Archives: Prime Ministers of the 20th Century (Paperback)

British History P&S History Photographic Books

By Mark Dunton
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Images of the National Archives
Pages: 96
Illustrations: Illustrated
ISBN: 9781526729491
Published: 31st March 2021


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This book gives an overview of each of the British Prime Ministers of the 20th century, summarising their premierships, their policies, and the key events. It is lavishly illustrated with images of documents from The National Archives which give a fresh dimension to the study of the Prime Minister’s role, providing insights into their personalities and the pressures that Prime Ministers are subject to. Handwritten comments by Prime Ministers enable the reader to connect with the individual and how they felt at the time. There are dramatic episodes and examples of forthright reactions, but flashes of humour too.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love books like this one and I have read a few books now that use the images from The National Archives and found them fascinating and this one was no different.

The book is not a long one to read in length as the focus is mainly on the mainly on the images which have captions where needed, and there are also some great extracts from the Archives too that focussed on some of the key issues and actions that came to light during their premiership.

I liked the addition of the handwritten comments that show their personalities and thoughts at the time too – quite enlightening. I knew a bit about most of those focussed on, some more than others with them having been in position during my lifetime and their actions affecting my parents, particularly my father during the Miners’ strike.

It is 5 stars from me for this one – it was a great book to read and I loved being able to read the stories of those who were actually involved with the great ship – very highly recommended!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

About Mark Dunton

Mark Dunton is Principal Records Specialist for Contemporary records at The National Archives, specialising in 20th century British political, social and economic history. Mark is a regular media spokesperson for The National Archives on the annual releases of governmental files and has given numerous television, radio and press interviews about the Prime Minister’s office records and Cabinet Papers.

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