Who's In, Who's Out: The Journals of Kenneth Rose

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474601559

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 12th May 2022

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Diaries, Letters & Journals

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‘The most detailed, amusing and accurate account ever of the post-war world of the English Establishment’ William Shawcross, Daily Telegraph
‘Extremely entertaining’ Jane Ridley, Literary Review

Kenneth Rose was one of the most astute observers of the establishment for over seventy years. The wry and amusing journals of the royal biographer and historian made objective observation a sculpted craft.

His impeccable social placement located him within the beating heart of the national elite for decades. He was capable of writing substantial history, such as his priceless material on the abdication crisis from conversations with both the Duke of Windsor and the Queen Mother. Yet he maintained sufficient distance to achieve impartial documentation while working among political, clerical, military, literary and aristocratic circles. Relentless observation and a self-confessed difficulty ‘to let a good story pass me by’ made Rose a legendary social commentator, while his impressive breadth of interests was underpinned by tremendous respect for the subjects of his enquiry.

Brilliantly equipped as Rose was to witness, detail and report, the first volume of his journals vividly portrays some of the most important events and people of the last century, from the bombing of London during the Second World War to the election of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, in 1979.


A huge treat ... [T]he first volume of Rose's journals, covering 1944-79, will also delight anyone who enjoys the great English diarists - Samuel Pepys, Chips Channon, Harold Nicolson, James Lees-Milne, Alan Clark. Who's In, Who's Out offers a feast of the choicest gossip from highest society
Lewis Jones, Sunday Telegraph
The diaries, chronicling the events of previous generations, give a unique glimpse of the personalities and preoccupations of the statesmen of that time. Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler, amongst other figures, are shown in a different and more informal way than their biographers have done and the differences in their approach to politics and each other are amusingly revealed
Lord Carrington, Foreign Secretary 1979–82
These journals kept by the royal biographer and journalist Kenneth Rose - who liked nothing so much as to dine in a London club with someone in the know about the world of high politics or royalty - make highly amusing and enlightening reading. Rose jotted down the juiciest gossip and the best anecdotes ... The journal entries are never more than a short paragraph long: ideal bedtime reading for anyone who relishes the unguarded utterances of the rich and well-connected
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Daily Mail
[S]o full of riveting detail that you can't help wondering how much of the juiciest gossip was left out of the Albany column and saved for the journals
Andrew M. Brown, Catholic Herald
[A]n astonishing and enjoyable collection of anecdotes, observations and judgements ... D.R. Thorpe, himself a gifted biographer and a friend of Rose for 40 years, has edited the raw materials tactfully and with a light touch ... Thorpe, like Rose, has a well-tuned ear for anecdote; and one can open this volume almost at random and be sure to find a jolly story ... [A]nyone who wants to understand the British establishment in the decades after the war should treat these diaries as their primer. The reader moves effortlessly through embassies and drawing rooms, not to mention palaces ... It is a spectator's diary, albeit written from the best possible seats in the ground
Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph
As a history of the Establishment in the second half of the 20th century, these journals will become indispensable and definitive. They are the equivalent for that period of the journals of Harold Nicolson and Chips Channon for the first half, combining sharp observation and anecdote with political and social insights. They are also extremely entertaining. Rose was right to think that they were his most important and lasting contribution. D. R. Thorpe has done a great job of editing them. He has a light touch. In spite of being an authority on the period, having written great biographies of Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home, he makes no attempt to fill the page with footnotes, but allows Rose to speak directly to the reader
Jane Ridley, Literary Review
Intimate with the highest levels of society, politics, the arts and the Royal Family, Kenneth Rose has left us one of the most vivid, full and revealing records of the post-war era
Andrew Roberts
[G]reat fun to read ... Rose has a good eye for colourful detail ... [The diaries] illuminate history and give it life. If one cannot be there oneself then Rose provides as good an apparatus for eaves-dropping as can well be conceived. He deserves our gratitude
Philip Ziegler, The Spectator
Rose was an impeccably connected biographer and gentleman journalist ('Albany' in the Sunday Telegraph for many years) and the joys of his diaries are choice anecdotes, pithily recounted, and plenty of culinary detail
Gyles Brandreth, The Oldie
What is so good - and is so well brought out in D.R.Thorpe's edition - is that [Kenneth Rose] was master of his material. This was the British establishment ... his diaries compose accurate, fair-minded history ... As Kenneth's editor in the later years of his Albany column, I was irritated by his fault (quite the opposite of most of us journalists) of putting into his articles less than he knew. This is corrected in his Journals. He knew a lot and he put it in; and now we can read it.
Charles Moore, THE SPECTATOR
An insider's account, this gossipy and acute diary will become the indispensable guide to the Establishment in the years between 1944 and 1979
Jane Ridley, The Spectator </i>Books of the Year<i>
A fascinating insight into postwar society at the highest level and an intimate view of many of the key players ... Dip into the book at random and you often pull out a plum
Patrick Kidd, The Times
The most detailed, amusing and accurate account ever of the post-war world of the English Establishment
William Shawcross, Daily Telegraph