A History of the Cambridge Union

432pp PHOTOS 2009 LIST PRICE: £25.00 HB19



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Older than fourteen colleges and the Boat Race, the Cambridge Union has been an important part of university life at Cambridge since its foundation in 1815. Ex-Presidents have included John Maynard Keynes, Robert Harris and Douglas Hurd -- as well as an Olympic medallist, an Oscar nominee, and two winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Generations of undergraduates have flocked to its celebrated debating chamber and spoken as equals with distinguished guests; Baldwin and Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan, Oswald Mosley and Enoch Powell. Parkinson charts the history of the Union from its nineteenth-century origins, focusing particularly on the turbulent Second World War and post-war years, during which the building was hit by a German bomb and commandeered by the army, future Cabinet ministers fell out over bitterly contested elections, and controversies raged about the admission of women and the place of such an antiquated club in a modern university.

. . . scholarly, nuanced and well written, with a perceptible fondness for the institution . . . will amuse and instruct' ANDREW ROBERTS