cover image Yes, Prime Minister: The Diaries of the Right Hon. James Hacker

Yes, Prime Minister: The Diaries of the Right Hon. James Hacker

Barbara Vine, Jonathan Lynn, Antony Jay. Salem House Publishers, $19.95 (391pp) ISBN 978-0-88162-335-2

This sequel in diary form to the televised The Complete Yes Minister continues the saga of the blunderingly vainglorious yet well-intentioned Rt. Hon. James Hacker, Cabinet Minister of Administrative Affairs. Hacker, who has hitherto presided over ``23,000 administrators whose vital function it was to administer all the other administrators in the Administration,'' congratulates himself on cunningly conniving his way to the top as Prime Minister. In fact he is manipulated into place by his eminence grise and nemesis, Permanent Undersecretary Sir Humphrey Appleby. Lynn and Jay continue to archly twit bureaucratic inertia and its cynically self-serving imperative to maximize its own resources and perquisites. Fertile as this material is, and despite some good lines, generally the humor seems overly obvious, especially in the laborious explanatory editorial asides to Hacker's tape-recorded burblings. The authors strive to demonstrate relevance to the U.S. reader in the prologue and epilogue that, along with footnotes, do a creditable job of making the British system intelligible, but their analogies between the different systems are stretched very thin. 30,000 copy first printing. (September)