The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister. Vol. II: Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 1966-1968; The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister. Vol. III: Secretary of State for Social Services 1968-1970

In This Review

The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister. Vol. II: Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 1966-1968

By Richard Crossman
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977
851 pp. $18.95
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The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister. Vol. III: Secretary of State for Social Services 1968-1970

By Richard Crossman
Hamish Hamilton/Jonathan Cape, 1977
1,039 pp.
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Rightly acclaimed as the richest because most candid source for the inner workings of the British Government, the Diaries (Vol. I noted in Foreign Affairs, January 1977) are full of details - about people, squabbles, issues, the travails and pleasures of official life. These often revealing, sometimes tedious remarks are interspersed with general reflections, as, for example, his comment on the occasion of the Cabinet's failure in 1967 to discuss the Vietnam conflict in all its complexity: "Now I realize how rarely great issues are discussed in Cabinet as issues of principle and how one moves normally through a series of ad hoc decisions on narrow issues which don't seem to raise the great moral principles."