Kenneth O Morgan

Unelected & Underrated

Downing Street Diary: Volume Two – With James Callaghan in No 10


Jonathan Cape 576pp £30 order from our bookshop

If Bonar Law is our unknown prime minister, Jim Callaghan is the most underrated. His years at No 10, between April 1976 and May 1979, are too often regarded as just an interlude between the Wilson and Thatcher eras, or, more broadly, between the hedonism of the Sixties and the capitalism of the Eighties. Yet in fact they witnessed episodes of immense importance for our history, with the political and economic trauma of the IMF crisis near the start, the trade-union-led ‘winter of discontent’ at the close, and crucial policy developments in education, the economy, devolution, Europe, the Middle East and defence in between. Callaghan himself, with a mixed record in the three other major offices of state, emerged as a commanding leader. In the view of Denis Healey, he was ‘our best prime minister since Attlee’. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,