The Lies of the Land: A Brief History of Political Dishonesty will be published by Atlantic on 7 September 2017. Conceived four days after the Brexit referendum, researched and written as Donald Trump slouched inexorably towards the White House, and handed in on the day before Theresa May called a surprise election which required the whole thing to be rewritten, it is not only the best of many books to come out on the subject this year, but also the only one not called ‘Post-Truth’.
Starting in 1953 with the obliging press cover-up of Winston Churchill’s near-fatal illness, and taking us via Watergate, Jeremy Thorpe, Jeffrey Archer, cash-for-questions and Blair’s WMDs right up to the present day, it explores how in the space of a lifetime we have gone from the belief that our rulers can be trusted to have our best interests at heart, to assuming the worst, even when they are doing their best.
“Funny, colourful and always insightful, this is an irresistibly enjoyable guide to our politicians’ semi-detached relationship with the truth. Are they really lying to us? And if so, why? This book has all the answers – and they aren’t always what you’d expect.”
Dominic Sandbrook, historian, columnist and television presenter
“An excellent guide through the thickets of political mendacity. Brilliantly-researched, intelligent and lucid, this book is essential reading.”
Matthew d’Ancona, columnist
“Forensic and hilarious… Macqueen tells the highly entertaining tale of how lying comes so easily to those who should be the most accountable.”
Miles Jupp, presenter, BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz