“At Cambridge you worshipped, you reviled or you ignored the Union – or it scared you (and me) witless. But you never learned about its origins and history. Stephen Parkinson has done this for us, producing a book that’s informative and respectful without being fawning or pompous. It’s a good read, as well as good history.”

            – Matthew Parris


“Stephen Parkinson has written a hugely impressive history of the Cambridge Union; scholarly, nuanced and well written, with a perceptible fondness for the institution.

“As a nursery for some of the most talented, witty, intelligent and cringe-makingly precocious of our future leaders, the Union Society chamber was consciously based on that of the House of Commons. As an insight onto the doings of our leaders before they were famous, this fine book will amuse and instruct.

“In a society that prizes debate more in the abstract than the action, it will remind us of what political discourse once was like, and ought to be again.”

            – Andrew Roberts


“Shockingly exciting”

            – Varsity


“[a] diverting book”

            – Paul Readman, The Irish Times


“Stephen Parkinson’s research is meticulous and fascinating, clearly explained for non-Union aficionados … a treasure trove of anecdotes and juicy details.

… Arena of Ambition is both well-written and carefully compiled … it should be essential reading for anyone considering a Union career.”

             – Olivia Potts, Varsity

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