Jacket for 'In Search of Michael Howard'

Publishers

UK - Simon & Schuster

In Search of Michael Howard

By Michael Crick

Published Jan 2010

To cartoonists and television satirists, Michael Howard is a bloodsucking Count Dracula, an undertaker, even the devil. Ann Widdecombe famously said there was ‘something of the night’ about him. Often prickly, the Conservative leader has been denounced as slippery, sinister, a control freak, an opportunist, and too much of a lawyer. Yet Margaret Thatcher and John Major both valued him as one of their most effective and loyal ministers. Many who know him say he’s intelligent, hard working and courteous; humorous, passionate and even sentimental.

Michael Crick, who exposed Jeffrey Archer and then played a part in the fall of Iain Duncan Smith, now looks at the man who replaced him. In search of the real Michael Howard, he unravels the mysteries of Howard’s Jewish family background in remote Eastern Europe, traces his childhood in working-class Wales, and details his life-long passions for the Beatles, American baseball and Liverpool. Crick explores why it took Howard almost twenty years to secure a safe seat in Parliament, and examines a ministerial career which invariably sparked controversy – the Michael Howard behind the poll tax, Section 28, and ‘prison works’, but who also presided over a substantial drop in crime. He explains one of the most extraordinary comebacks in modern British politics: how a man who looked dead after Ann Widdecombe’s attack in 1997 bounced back to lead his party – albeit to a third defeat. In Search of Michael Howard also tells how Howard wooed one of the most beautiful women of his generation, who has now become his greatest asset: Sandra Paul, the international model who was holidaying with John F. Kennedy and Sinatra while her future husband was still a student.

With his customary deployment of a forensic but scrupulously fair biographical armoury, Crick reveals a man far more colourful than previously imagined and brings to life one of Britain’s most enigmatic politicians.