Bringing back memories – my first book…

20170214_192707Reform of the House of Lords, being published in June, will be my 32nd book (or the 43rd if you include new editions).  My first, Dissension in the House of Commons 1945-74, was published by Macmillan in 1975.  It was a  643-page volume, chronicling all occasions of intra-party dissent in the division lobbies of the House of Commons from 1945 to 1974.  (It had entailed me going manually through about 3,000 division lists and about 1 million names.)  It was described in The Economist as ‘a veritable blockbuster of a book’.

It was published in hardback.  What I didn’t realise was that it has since been reprinted in paperback.  I looked recently at what books of mine were available on Amazon and saw the book was listed.  I thought it would be useful to have a spare copy and ordered it.  It arrived today.  It came as a really nice surprise.  It was almost like reliving when it was first published.

I assumed it must have been reprinted shortly after publication of the hardback edition, but on re-checking the Amazon website it appears that it was only three years ago.  That makes it even more intriguing, since it suggests there is some demand for it.

It is available, incidentally, at £40.  Not bad given that a hardcover edition will set you back at least £135…

I should add that I was very young – still a postgraduate – when the book first appeared.  It would have been published even sooner, in late 1974, had I not spotted an error in the proofs, which delayed publication.

Today’s delivery brought back happy memories of when I received my first copies.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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8 Responses to Bringing back memories – my first book…

  1. tizres says:

    Underneath this well-titled post was a link to another from 2013: https://nortonview.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/not-taking-things-for-granted/ Not too sure which search engine was utilised but they are damn good when compared with the results from a few years ago.

    Today, searching enabled me to find several derivations of the term ‘blockbuster’, as well as a surprising footnote from 1979, “Like Mellors, Philip Norton…”

    I know, I’m such a tease.

    xxx

  2. Croft says:

    “It had entailed me going manually through about 3,000 division lists and about 1 million names.”

    A job that could probably be done in an afternoon now with modern computing!

    • Lord Norton says:

      Croft: I know. The research entailed spending basically two years below ground, in one of the stacks of Sheffield University Library, where copies of Hansard (and The Times) were housed, going through each division list and writing up details of the debate and the names of dissenters. The material was then typed up. (At least each entry was typed on a fresh page. An error didn’t mean having to retype a whole section.) The manuscript itself was, as I recall, over 1,000 pages. Now, as you say, the data can be retrieved in the course of afternoon. Oh well…

      • Croft says:

        There are a fair few unis that task would get ‘delegated’ to doctoral students. Not sure if that reflects well on your work ethic or badly on your skill at finding a suitable incentive to ‘bribe’ them 😉

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: I was a doctoral student! I was compiling the data for my PhD.

      • Croft says:

        😀

        I’d misunderstood your post as meaning you’d already got the D. Explains a lot then being left on your own with that task. I seem to remember hoping my thesis would best be conducted in the sunny Med but my Prof suggested the various official documents I needed were at the PRO! A year or so later he made a documentary for TV on the exact subject of my thesis and went to the Med to film it!!!!! :-()

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: I was left alone. Intra-party dissent in the British House of Commons doesn’t lend itself much to exotic locations.

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