le 5 février 2015
US citizens’ trust in Congress (House of Representatives + Senate) has reached an all-time low. But the 2013 and 2014 series produced and broadcast by Netflix entitled “House of Cards” dealing with US politicians has won many prizes and is a great popular success. Was it because it confirmed or surpassed viewers’ worst fears and prejudices about politicians?
This review is about the book that inspired the Netflix series.
First published in the UK 1989 as a satire on Britain’s Conservative Party’s internal power politics and an anatomy of some of its parliament’s most sacred institutions and traditions. It is about the search for more power by MPs worrying about re-election. And about the strain on prime ministers to always have to outwit, dominate an unruly parliament at its weekly PM Question Time. This testosterone-laden arena guarantees plenty of intrigue and gossip, sucked up eagerly and disseminated with a vengeance by Britain’s gossipy newspapers.
This book charts Francis Urquhart’s climb to ultimate power. Being the Chief Whip, basically an enforcer of party discipline, with a staff of his own and based two doors away from No. 10 Downing Street, gave him a unique insight into the lives of his 330+ fellow MPs. With great finesse, he engineers a campaign to topple the PM, then eliminates one by one other contenders, always acting as an elderly statesman, manipulating in a sly and non-attributable way.
What makes this book a thriller is: will he succeed or will he be stopped? The author, a former member of Margaret Thatcher’s inner circle, was well placed to write this book. In 1990 the BBC serialized his book in four episodes, with a stunning performance by Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart.
le 13 janvier 2010
Après m'avoir, sur ma demande inquiète (on était à 4 jours de Noël et je n'avais reçu strictement aucune nouvelle), répondu que mon livre ne serait pas envoyé et que je serai remboursé, ce qui a suscité de ma part une évaluation désastreuse du vendeur (une étoile). J'ai finalement reçu le livre vers le 7 janvier! Ce vendeur a donc fait une grosse erreur mais s'est honorablement racheté. J'ai tout de même raté Noël.