Sometimes things go wrong, yet turn out right. I launched my book on the chats between Margaret Thatcher and Dorothy Hodgkin in March then dashed off to Spain. Not a good move. I had real difficulty drumming up any media interest (Thatcher aversion?) then Radio Oxford had a programme on Margaret just after I left and invited me along to speak, but I was in transit and am not one for turning back. Then, just before I left, I received two pages of comments, criticisms and suggestions from Margaret Bullard, a lady who was married to Dorothy's cousin and had known both of the subjects of my book well. Her son Robert had kindly passed a copy of the manuscript to her and, to be honest, I did not really expect a response so was unwilling to delay publication - the changes came too late.
But in this world of instant publication it is never too late: the comments were so important that I knew I would have to incorporate them. Coupled with this I had a strange reaction to the book - some people thought that the conversations were real! They were shocked to discover that I had invented them and I was shocked that they should think otherwise. Did they think there was a tape recorder under the desk? Well, be aware people, Bing Crossby only discovered the tape recorder in 1947, the year of my book, and it was then much too big to conceal under a desk. Nonetheless, I looked at the title and decided that the mention of conversations might, just might, have led them to this absurd conclusion, and realised that I would have to change it.
Now I have a new, and better, title - Political Chemistry - and a better book thanks to Margaret Bullard's comments, so I have republished. I suppose that this sort of thing has happened before in the era of printing presses and such, but not this quickly. Political Chemistry in eBook form is available as I write and will be available as a paper book within a few days - both on Amazon and cheap at present.
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