The BiographyBook - 2009
The unknown life of Alan Clark, celebrated diarist, womaniser, Tory MP and controversial minister in Mrs Thatcher's governments.
Independent Publishing Group
Although Alan Clark died in 1999, his reputation lives on?a popular TV series was based on his life and his diaries sold more than half a million copies. A noted historian, he was Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton and controversial minister under Mrs. Thatcher. Here his biographer Ion Trewin, drawing on the personal papers from the Clarks' Saltwood Castle home in Kent, tells an enthralling story of the life that Clark himself chose not to discuss: an unhappy childhood with neglectful parents, the fire destroyed his first school, wartime Eton, and his time at Oxford under Hugh Trevor-Roper. His first novel?accepted on the 13th submission?was pulped because of libel, but went on to gain praise. Readers may think they know Clark's political life from his diaries, but Clark himself neglected to tell all. He adored women and courted a schoolgirl he first met when she was 16 and he 30. This was Jane, to whom he remained married?if not faithfully?until his death from a brain tumor in 1999. The extent of his extra-marital escapades is now revealed. Here for the first time the unknown Alan Clark stands revealed.
Blackwell North Amer
Celebrated diarist, famous womaniser, Tory MP and controversial minister - a castle-owning toff and lecherous cad to some, to others a colourful and life-enhancing figure - Alan Clark was politically incorrect before the term was invented. He is best remembered ten years after his death for his sensational Diaries. And yet, what of the man?
Alan Clark rarely spoke about his upbringing, even to his family. Was it as unhappy as he hinted (his famous father was Kenneth Clark of Civilisation fame)? In this biography, written with full support of his widow Jane, is the real Alan Clark.
Ion Trewin has had unrestricted access to extensive family papers (including twenty years of unpublished diaries) at Saltwood Castle in Kent, the Clark family home for more than half a century. He has talked to politicians of all persuasions, to those who knew him at a sough coast prep school which burnt down, to friends at Eton and Oxford, and to some of the many women he found impossible to resist despite a loving marriage of forty-one years.
We witness Alan Clark in unlikely situations: in the United States as a bellhop and later in Moscow as a delegate to a Soviet youth congress. We learn of this struggles to teach himself to write and the mentors who helped him become a formidable military historian. We see his political evolution and romantic nationalism - his right-wing preference was identified before he was even in his teens - his enthusiasm for Margaret Thatcher, his controversial role at the Matrix-Churchill trial and the 'drunk at the Commons dispatch box' affair.