The unknown life of Alan Clark, celebrated diarist, womaniser, Tory MP and controversial minister in Mrs Thatcher's governments.
Although Alan Clark died in 1999 his reputation lives on - a TV series (John Hurt as Alan) gave BBC4 its first million+ audience. His diaries (3 vols) sold more than half a million copies. A noted historian, he was Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton and controversial minister under Mrs Thatcher; later MP for Kensington & Chelsea. His biographer has drawn on an Aladdin's cave of papers at the Clarks' Saltwood Castle home in Kent. Ion Trewin tells an enthralling story of the life that Clark himself chose not to discuss: an unhappy childhood with neglectful parents (his art historian father Kenneth Clark, best known for his 'Civilisation' TV series). Fire destroyed his first school; he endured wartime Eton, at Oxford he read history under Hugh Trevor-Roper and drove large cars (he was known as 'Klaxon' Clark). His parents insisted he read law; passing his exams at the 3rd attempt, he never practised. His first novel - accepted on the 13th submission - was pulped because of libel, but went on to gain praise. The Donkeys, his first work of history, brought down the wrath of military historians. Clark changed course and into politics in his forties. Readers may think they know Clark's political life from his diaries, but Clark himself neglected to tell all, about Mrs T's downfall, the Matrix Churchill arms to Iraq scandal and much more. He adored women - Trewin has tracked down his first great love, a ballet dancer, and his last infatuation - and courted a schoolgirl he first met when she was 16 and he 30. This was Jane, to whom he remained married - if not faithfully - until his death from a brain tumour in 1999. The extent of his extra-marital escapades is now revealed. Here for the first time the unknown Alan Clark stands revealed.