Anthony Eden

A Life and Reputation
Dutton, David
Date published: 
May 1997

As the centenary of his birth approaches, Anthony Eden remains one of the most controversial figures in the political history of twentieth-century Britain. Using a mass of unpublished archival material, much of it from Eden's own papers, David Dutton seeks to reassess the career of a man who experienced the extremes of political fortune. For much of his life the golden boy of British politics, with a popular appeal that transcended party boundaries, Eden left public life with his reputation for sound judgement and probity sadly tarnished. In this new study the Suez crisis of 1956, which did such lasting damage to Eden's historical reputation, is given due attention in the light of the wealth of detailed studies now available, but it is not allowed to compromise a proper assessment of the full career of a man who was at the heart of British political life for more than two decades. Eden's role in the appeasement of the 1930s is scrutinised, his contribution to wartime diplomacy re-evaluated and new light is thrown on his part as a key player in the Cold War, European integration, and postwar domestic politics.