"Order, Order! :The Rise and Fall of Political Drinking"
What do Tony Blair, Richard Nixon, William Pitt the Younger, Joseph Stalin, Nigel Farage and most voters have in common? Booze. Experience of the pleasures and pitfalls of drink. Britain's first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, smuggled wine up the Thames with the help of the Navy. Three centuries later Tony Blair confessed that a stiff drink and half a bottle of wine a night had become a helpful crutch while in office. Joseph Stalin flushed out traitors with vodka. The disintegration of Richard Nixon and Boris Yeltsin was largely down to drink. Winston Churchill was famous for his drinking, often taking a whisky and soda first thing in the morning and champagne ritually with dinner. But why did these politicians drink and what was their tipple of choice? How did drinking shape the decisions they made? Ben Wright, political correspondent for the BBC, explores the history of alcohol within politics, from the debauched drinking practices of eighteenth century ministers up to the current day, often based on his own experiences supping with politicians in Westminster bars. With exclusive interviews and in-depth research, Order, Order! uses alcohol as a lens through which to meet a remarkable cast of politicians, to understand their times and discover what drove them to drink. It is a story of boozy bon viveurs but many casualties too. It is about the complexity of the human condition and the pull of the bottle.
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