The Course of My Life is not only the autobiography of one of the most distinguished figures of modern times, but a revealing panoply of twentieth-century political, international and social history. Born in 1916, Edward Heath became a Conservative Member of Parliament in 1950, following a glittering Oxford and military career, and was at the heart of political life for a long time - as Chief Whip (notably during the Suez Crisis), Minister of Labour, Lord Privy Seal at the Foreign Office, Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965-75, and Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974. Since relinquishing the leadership in 1975, he has maintained a central role in world affairs, as well as pursuing his wide musical and sailing interests.
Edward Heath writes his autobiography with complete (and often very amusing) candour, offering us valuable and entertaining insights into the events of the past sixty years. He describes the importance of a united Europe, one of the driving influences in his life since he observed a Nuremberg Rally as an undergraduate, and his continuing thoughts on the subject after he took us into the European Community in the 1970s. He discusses the changes in the Conservative Party in his period as an MP and his modernisation of it as its leader, and the major issues of domestic policy, not least the economy, the trade unions and the Troubles in Northern Ireland; these are set against his range of activities on the international stage, including his negotiations with China and Saddam Hussein, shortly before the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991.
Both as a record of a momentous and unequalled career and as an important and frank document of personalities and events, The Course of My Life is as entertaining as it is revealing.