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Paperback First among Equals : How to Manage a Group of Professionals Book

ISBN: 0671693743

ISBN13: 9780671693749

First among Equals : How to Manage a Group of Professionals

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This description may be from another edition of this product. Playing for the highest stakes of all...In the 1960s, four ambitious new MPs take their seats at Westminster. Over three decades they share the turbulent passions of the race for power with their...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A great political tale

There is the theoretical idea in Westminster Parliamentary systems that all Cabinet ministers are equals, and that the Prime Minister is simply First among Equals, rather than the nearly all-powerful figure most have become (similarly, the Pope as Bishop of Rome is theoretically merely the first among equals of bishops -- see how that works?).In fact, the office of the Prime Minister is a powerful position, one that drives many people to do strange and bizarre things in aid of attaining the office. Like the characters in the novel, Jeffrey Archer (now Lord Archer, most recently guest of Her Majesty's prison system) had Prime Ministerial ambitions, too. Unlike many of the characters in this novel, Archer 'settled' for less than the Premeirship earlier in his career, discovering writing as a lucrative and creative outlet, and one that allows him to work out his personal and professional angst in a very unique manner. Much in this novel reflects Archer's own struggles.The novel is very accurate and true to form in the mechanics and atmosphere of the House of Commons and House of Lords. Having been a Member of Parliament, Archer knew the environment from the inside, and drew realistic scenarios and created realistic characters of such degree that I have required this novel as a text when I've taught British politics. The major cast of characters -- Seymour, Kerslake, Fraser and Gould -- fit composites of many back-benchers I knew when I worked in Parliament. Unlike the majority of back-benchers, these are men of ambition and ability (alas, somewhat rare combinations in politics in any nation). Each has an eye on the brass ring of No. 10 Downing Street, and each has, at the outset of political careers, an equal chance at success. A week can be a long time in politics, it has been said, so the span of several decades might as well be an eternity. We see the personal and professional ups and downs of these individuals against a backdrop of real political history from the 1960s forward; this book written in 1984, the 'future' was speculative, but not beyond reason, and still makes for a good read. The careers of the foursome are not linearly upward; true to form of many political careers (including Archer's own), there are near misses and great falls, from which some recover, and others do not.The ending is an interesting one, again part of Archer's speculative history, hinging upon one event that perhaps he knew well would never in fact happen. However, it is still a believable political event, and given that actual politics is often unbelievable, this novel makes a generous alternative history.Archer's gift of storytelling is strong, and perhaps best when he is dealing with situations he himself has survived. 'First Among Equals' is one such story.

Top-class

'First Among Equals' is quite a different tale. Some of my friends told me that they found the initial part boring. Well, I didn't find that assessment to be true. This novel makes a very interesting reading, and like many other Archer novels, it picks up action as you reach 200-odd pages.This is a tale of four aspiring gentlemen: Fraser, Gould, Kerslake and Seymour who enter the House of Commons in the 1960s, each aspiring to win the highest office - and to reach 10 Downing Street. But only one man can do it. Archer, the master storyteller that he is, narrates in detail the lives of each men - the ups and downs each must face - and winds it up with the final battle.The suspense is gripping and the man who becomes the Prime Minister is revealed only in the very last paragraph of the novel.Overall a great story... hats off.

Rooting for Characters I Don't Even Like

A first-class effort by Archer. Of the four primary characters, three were compelling men whom the reader pulled for up until the very end. As a man of the right, I found the two Labour men to be the most sympathetic figures in the book. Politicians, even the best of 'em, have their secrets. Archer serves to bring that out in spades. But, in the end, most of them -- at their core (we hope) -- have some spark of idealism. Would that, in real life, both sides were as more or less honorable as Archer would have it . . . we'd all be okay. In any event, a first class effort, even if one knows little or nothing about politics in the UK. Even though it was written in 1984, it's still worth one's time in the 21st Century.

A masterpiece about british modern politics.

Archer is a fantastic storyteller and a political player (maybe the future mayor of London). That is why the book is perfect. You learn a lot about british politics while being greatly entertained. Even if you don't really like politics you'll love the suspense of this sophisticated political noble soap opera .

Best written and evolving book Archer has ever written.

Archer, one of the best story tellers of the day, weaves a tale a three young men growing up in England, all aspiring to the same goal in life - to be the Prime Minister. Archer's nack for blending the characters and sub-characters together throughout their lives is as entertaining as he gets. EXCELLENT first read if you've never read a Jeffrey Archer book. It will definitely hook you on both his writing style and stories. A true classic!
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