This interesting, well-written and clearly-organised book will be of value to those interested in British governmental policy-making in the third quarter of the last century and, more generally, to those concerned with the potential relevance of historical study in the public sphere. The book is organised into four sections, a substantial introductory one that considers the use of history in Britain, a second on using history in the Treasury, a third on the Foreign Office, and a concluding section.

The tale is not an encouraging one for those who advocate relevance. Drawing on a wide range of sources and reflecting a sound grasp of administrative practice and culture, Beck ably demonstrates a neglect of the historical work commissioned by government in the deliberations of the latter. His meticulous scholarship demonstrates that, despite claims of the value of the historical perspective, policy, instead,...

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