The Suez Crisis of 1956 was the nadir of Britain's twentieth century, the moment when the once-superpower was bullied into retreat. Great Britain has lost an empire and not yet found a role, said Dean Acherson, a former US secretary of state. Acheson's line has entered into the canon of great quotations: but it was wrong. Britain had already found a role. The leaders of the world just hadn't noticed it yet. Butler to the World reveals how Britain came to assume its role as the center of the offshore economy. Written polemically, but studded with witty references to the butlers of popular fiction, it demonstrates how so many elements of modern Britain have been put at the service of the world's oligarchs.
Unmissable, deeply depressing ... He dates the shift to the Suez crisis in 1956, the year that Britain’s imperial apparatus finally collapsed, and the establishment cast around for another source of wealth to keep it in the style to which it had long become accustomed.
It is hard to imagine a more timely book than Oliver Bullough’s damning account of Britain’s role in facilitating oligarchs and criminals in their acquisition of billions of pounds’ worth of ill-gotten gains ... Butler to the World is both a brilliant and depressing blast at decades of malign financial cosiness and the politicians who let it happen ... One of the great things about his book is that Bullough doesn’t just sit back and drily condemn all this financial skulduggery, he goes to meet the people who helped create the conditions that allowed it to happen ... It takes guts to write and publish a book like this.