How did a tight-knit circle of Oxford-educated elites come to dominate the British political landscape? And what does Oxford’s outsized role in churning out Conservative leaders reveal about the health of the UK’s political system?
In his book Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the U.K., Simon Kuper traces some of the biggest names in the British Conservative Party – including Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and more – to their formative years at Oxford. Kuper pulls back the curtain on the debating tactics and cultivated affectations, the friendships and the rivalries, that swept through Oxford in the second half of the twentieth century, and that continue to exert a powerful grip on British politics. Join us to hear Kuper engage in conversation with journalist and 2018—19 American Library in Paris Visiting Fellow Ian Leslie about the state of British politics today.
About the Speakers:
Simon Kuper has lived in several countries around the world, including Uganda, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, and France. His journalistic specialisms are equally wide-ranging: he writes on topics from politics to urban policy to soccer. Kuper publishes a popular weekly column in FT Magazine. His latest book, Chums, was a Sunday Times bestseller, and his 1994 book Soccer Against the Enemy won the William Hill prize for Sports Book of the Year.
Ian Leslie is a journalist, writer, and speaker who specializes in human behavior. He was a Visiting Fellow at the American Library in Paris in 2019. His books include Conflicted: Why Arguments Are Tearing Us Apart and How They Can Bring Us Together and Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Economist, The New Statesman, and the Financial Times.