Originally written in 1936 by two young Cambridge Fellows, A Guide to the Classics is a light-hearted manual on how to pick the Derby winner. However, as the tongue-in-cheek title suggested, there is more to the book than meets the eye, especially as one of the young dons went on to become, according to his 1990 Telegraph obituary, 'the greatest political philosopher in the Anglo-Saxon tradition since Mill – or even Burke'.
The book takes the abstraction out of the Derby by attacking the systems which had been developed by generations of 'form' experts. It exposes theoretical solutions as fraudulent – instead it applies hard-headed empirical and historical analysis. Oakeshott went on to apply this methodology to his famous critique of 'rationalism' in politics.
This long-awaited edition of Griffith and Oakeshott's classic text includes a new preface and foreword by horse racing journalist and author Sean Magee, and political commentator Peter Oborne.