23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 34

John Biffen

This has been a politician's year. Margaret Thatcher's demise has provoked a torrent of analysis. The former Prime Minister's Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham (Kill the Messenger, Harper Collins, £17.50), has predictably written trenchantly about his career at Number Ten. It is a fascinating tale that portrays how Margaret Thatcher exercised personal power as a Conservative radical, and how he, an erstwhile Yorkshire socialist and Guardian journalist, was a willing accomplice. The revolution that saw the departure of Margaret Thatcher and her loyal press acolyte has been chronicled by Bruce Anderson (John Major, Fourth Estate, £16.99). It is the best book to date about the present Prime Minister and his unexpected ascent to power. Of course, there are blemishes that might be expected from instant and often folksy treatment of the subject, but Anderson makes judgments that are now being validated as the real John Major begins to emerge.