The ASI's best of 2011: Madsen & Eamonn

Madsen Pirie, President:


The best movies I saw were

The Eagle

A great tale of adventure, loyalty and friendship in Roman Britain

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

It holds up splendidly against the Alex Guinness TV version, with more than a nod in its direction.


A brilliant, atmospheric and absorbing tribute to the early pioneers of cinema. Beautifully shot with effective use of 3D.


The best books I read were

Dictators' Houses (by Peter York)

How fascinating to see how dictators live, unrestrained by taste. 

The Churchill Memorandum (by Sean Gabb)

A fast-paced romp through an alternative post-war history in which all of the political opponents I have despised are cast as traitors or mass murderers!

What Am I Still Doing Here (by Roger Lewis)

Roger Lewis looks with dispassionate eyes at the sometimes squalid lives of people and places he has known, but never without humour.


Among the events I enjoyed were:

The Royal Wedding

I celebrated it with friends, decorating a balcony in Nice and with a union jack cake and champagne to toast the happy couple.

Reagan Statue unveiling

I joined the crowds in Grosvenor Square unveiling the great man's statue, and in Guildhall to hear Condoleeza Rice and William Hague celebrate his achievement.

Mont Pelerin Society meeting

I had the chance to mingle with great intellects in Istanbul, and to cruise the Bosphorus in style.


Eamonn Butler, Director:

Best film:

Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy - different from but just as gripping as the TV series with Alec Guiness.

Best book:

Nicholas Phillipson's Adam Smith - An Enlightened Life.