Publication Date: 30/03/2023 ISBN: 9781788167390 Category:


Simon Kuper

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publication Date: 30/03/2023 ISBN: 9781788167390 Category:
Paperback / Softback




Now with a new chapter on the end of the chumocracy era – and Oxford’s upcoming elite for 2050.


Power. Privilege. Parties.
It’s a very small world at the top.

‘Brilliant … traces Brexit back to the debating chambers of the Oxford Union in the 1980s’ James O’Brien

‘A searing onslaught on the smirking Oxford insinuation that politics is all just a game. It isn’t. It matters’ Matthew Parris

‘A sparkling firework of a book’ Lynn Barber, Spectator

‘Exquisite and depressing in equal measure’ Matthew Syed, Sunday Times

Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May, Dominic Cummings, Daniel Hannan, Jacob Rees-Mogg: Whitehall is swarming with old Oxonians. They debated each other in tutorials, ran against each other in student elections, and attended the same balls and black tie dinners.

They aren’t just colleagues – they are peers, rivals, friends. And, when they walked out of the world of student debates onto the national stage, they brought their university politics with them.

Thirteen of the seventeen postwar British prime ministers went to Oxford University. In Chums, Simon Kuper traces how the rarefied and privileged atmosphere of this narrowest of talent pools – and the friendships and worldviews it created – shaped modern Britain.

A damning look at the university clique-turned-Commons majority that will blow the doors of Westminster wide open and change the way you look at our democracy forever.

Publisher Review

A searing onslaught on the smirking Oxford insinuation that politics is all just a game. It isn't. It matters -- Matthew Parris A gripping read ... exquisite and depressing in equal measure -- Matthew Syed * Sunday Times * A sparkling firework of a book -- Lynn Barber * Spectator * Incisive, insightful and timely -- Richard Beard * New Statesman * Fascinating ... The picture Kuper draws is of a nation with a decadent and deeply unprofessional ruling class, a diagnosis with which it is impossible to disagree -- Hugo Rifkind * Times * Readers who prefer their politics polemical (and Britain in Europe) need look no further than Simon Kuper * Times Best Political and Current Affairs Books of 2022 * Detailing the troubling amounts of political power wielded by a very small and privileged Oxford elite, Kuper's excellently researched and vividly written account is by turns shocking, illuminating and darkly funny * Waterstones Best Books of 2022: Politics * Immensely entertaining ... a tremendous romp jam-packed with delicious indiscretions -- Tim Luckhurst * Daily Mail * A brilliant book -- John Harris * Guardian Weekly Politics podcast * A penetrating analysis of the connections that enabled an incestuous university network to dominate Westminster and give birth to Brexit ... perceptive and full of surprises -- Tim Adams * Observer * Johnson, Cameron, Rees-Mogg, Gove and Cummings all feature in this look at the hidden depths of our current political establishment and its inextricable link to Eton and, in particular, Oxford University -- 50 Best Books for Summer 2022 * Sunday Times * Shows how the culture of Oxford decisively influenced the tone of British politics and led to Brexit. Brilliantly written, it gripped me -- Paschal Donohoe * Irish Times * Kuper is alert to the deficiencies of the Oxford Union style, the tendency to substitute some glib debating point for hard-headed analysis ... Engagingly brief with delightful details -- Andrew Gimson * Conservative Home * Intellectually bracing ... a deep dive into the culture of the upper-crust public schools and university that produced ten of the UK's 15 post-war prime ministers -- Andrew Lynch * Business Post * Elegant, witty, economical ... it is absurd how much influence this tiny, moneyed circle has been able to wield, and deeply depressing -- Zoe Williams * TLS * Chums is not just about the smallness of Britain's privileged elite or the early advantages it enjoys. Simon Kuper goes further ... to critique a system that attaches more importance to winning debates than shaping policy -- Mike Phipps * Labour Hub * The best ever written dissection of the formation for what passes as the modern Tory Party's leadership * Philosophy Football * A snapshot of a time gone by, bringing alive 1980s Oxford in vivid detail ... a thrilling read -- Daniel Dipper * Higher Education Policy Institute * Engaging and detailed ... [This] may be the last generation of such Oxford Tories, yet their policies may well influence the United Kingdom for generations -- Andrew Moravcsik * Foreign Affairs * [A] highly entertaining, and often infuriating examination of the clique of Oxford Tories that gave us Brexit * Irish Times * Praise for The Happy Traitor: Kuper provides a different and valuable perspective, humane and informative -- John Le Carre Truly enthralling ... a deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character -- Philippe Sands The most comprehensive and insightful biography to date -- Ben Macintyre

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