In December 1916 the new British prime minister, David Lloyd George, sought to overcome the problems of waging the First World War through an unwieldy Cabinet by establishing a smaller, streamlined mechanism, the War Cabinet. He also set up a secretariat, the cabinet office, which would be overseen by the cabinet secretary, Maurice Hankey, and his deputy, Tom Jones.
In Joseph Heller’s 1979 novel Good As Gold, the hapless protagonist, college professor and would-be public intellectual Bruce Gold, writes a light-hearted magazine article entitled ‘Nothing Succeeds As Planned’. He sends a copy to his contact at the White House, the ineffable Ralph Newsome, who is delighted with it. ‘I can’t tell you how you’re boggling our minds’, Newsome tells Gold.
Historians can only feel ambivalent about bureaucracy. ‘Admin’ tends to get in the way of those two core activities that define a university, research and teaching. Some of it might be necessary and benign: seminars require registers, after all.
Andrew Thorpe’s fourth edition of A History of the British Labour Party provides a much needed update to what has become one of the leading volumes on the Labour Party since its first edition in 1997. The book, spanning 412 pages, provides an engaging read into the history of the Labour Party.
The parliamentary papers of the UK are one of the most important sources for the history of the UK and its former colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries, in their original form a series of thousands of printed reports.