Book picks similar to
Redneck Boy in the Promised Land: The Confessions of "Crazy Cooter" by Ben Jones
Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries
Gyles Brandreth - 1999
These diaries start in 1990 when Brandreth, after a career in theatre, television, and publishing, decided that he wanted to become a Tory MP. There is an all-star cast, including Princess Diana, Bill Clinton, Joanna Lumley, Jeffrey Archer, and Norman Lamont.
Speaking Out: Lessons in Life and Politics
Ed Balls - 2016
'Full of anecdote, insight and authenticity’ Evening Standard BOOKS OF THE YEAR 'Witty, reflective and engaging' Nick Robinson'Honest and revealing' Michael Palin'Fascinating, heartfelt' Kay Burley'Insightful, funny, unexpectedly moving' Jonathan FreedlandOn the night of 7 May 2015, Ed Balls thought there was a chance he would wake up the next morning as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. Instead, he woke up without a job.Twenty-one years earlier he had left a promising career in journalism to work for Labour in opposition. Moving through the ranks, from adviser to Cabinet minister and on to Shadow Chancellor, he occupied a central and influential position in and out of power during a pivotal period in British history. Speaking Out is a record of a life in politics, but also much more. It is about how power can be used for good, and the lessons to be learned when things go wrong. It is about the mechanics of Westminster, and of government. It is about facing up to your fears and misgivings, and tackling your limitations – on stages public and private.It is about the mistakes made, change delivered and personalities encountered over the course of two decades at the frontline of British politics. It is a unique window into a rarely seen world. Most importantly, it sets out what politics is about, and why it matters.
A Walk on Part :Diaries 1994 - 1999
Chris Mullin - 2011
Together with the bestselling A View from the Foothills and Decline & Fall, the complete trilogy covers the rise and fall of New Labour from start to finish.Witty, elegant and wickedly indiscreet, the Mullin diaries are widely reckoned to be the best account of the New Labour era."Every once in a while," wrote David Cameron, " political diaries emerge that are so irreverent and insightful that they are destined to be handed out as leaving presents across Whitehall for years to come."
My Stories, My Times
Jean Chrétien - 2018
Recounted with warmth, insight and his distinctive sense of humour, these brief and candid essays feature many behind-the-scenes stories from a long, distinguished and colourful career. The book also features two sixteen-page colour photo inserts.October 2018 marks twenty-five years since Jean Chrétien took the helm as prime minister. In this collection of short essays, he has picked up his pen to reminisce about his long years in the public eye, and the many luminaries he met and worked with. Readers will learn why his commonsense judgment continues to influence our lives to this day, in ways both profound and subtle: from forging long-lasting relationships with foreign countries to making it easy to identify our national airline when we travel. He recalls a memorable trip with the royal family to the Northwest Territories in 1970, and how Ross Perot tried to influence his views on free trade in 1992. Of course, many familiar names figure in these stories, including George W. Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Pierre Trudeau, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. There are reflections on the many different posts over Chrétien's career, including becoming Canada's first-ever francophone finance minister. He pays tribute to old friends and colleagues, where the values of honour and dedication to public service transcend political views. He reserves his greatest admiration for his wife of more than sixty years, Aline, whom he calls his Rock of Gibraltar. These stories offer his unique perspective: we are at the Prime Minister's side on 9/11 when he is asked to give authorization to shoot down a passenger airliner that has not responded to identification requests. We learn how he attempted to correct the record as explained in his grandson's history book on the so-called "Night of the Long Knives." (Despite having special access to an eyewitness to history, his grandson got a failing grade on his paper.) There are even glimpses of the young Jean, as a teen canvassing with his father, and as a young man who dared complain personally to Premier Maurice Duplessis about the food at his seminary. Survival in politics requires stamina, creativity and toughness, as well as the ability to share a laugh now and again: qualities that the self-described "little guy from Shawinigan" never lost. In these days of "alternative facts" and politics-by-Tweet, these stories are a necessary antidote, told by a leader who always held fast to his vision of what Canada was and what it could be.
Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge
Scott Walker - 2013
Those who say we can’t don’t see what I see in Wisconsin and what my fellow governors in states all across America see. We don’t need to change our principles. What we need is more courage.”In 2011, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s chances of staying in office looked bleak. Angry protesters—furious about his collective bargaining proposal—swarmed Madison, camped in the capitol, and attempted to block the passage of the governor’s reform legislation. Teachers unions accused him of sabotaging education. His approval numbers fell to the basement, and with the national media’s descent on Wisconsin, liberals denounced “Dead Man Walker.” He found himself fighting for his reforms, fielding death threats, and facing an unprecedented recall election.But then something happened. Walker’s policies began to work. His constituents realized they were better off with his leadership, and in June 2012, he became the first governor in American history to survive a recall attempt, winning with a higher share of the vote than he had for his original election.In Unintimidated, Governor Walker tells the story of his fight to save Wisconsin from a $3.6 billion budget deficit while simultaneously improving the state’s schools and public infrastructure. He describes how he stood for his convictions against enormous political pressure and personal attacks. He explains how he knew his reforms would work, based on his experience as a local official.Speaking from the perspective earned from his resounding victory, he outlines lessons conservatives on the national stage can learn from his success, such as:• Change the polls, not your principles.• Don’t accept the false choices presented to you.• You can reform entitlements and survive.• Austerity is not the answer.• Never stop reforming.Walker is living proof that conservatives need not move to the center to win. He argues that Republicans must offer Americans big, bold, positive solutions for our nation’s challenges—and have the courage to implement them. Walker has shown that even President Obama will back down when faced with reforms promoted with common sense and courage.
The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour
Peter Mandelson - 2010
Peter Mandelson tells his story of a life played out in the back rooms and on the front lines of the Labour Party during its unprecedented three terms in government in this mixture of autobiography, personal reflection, and political history. He began writing the book while serving as European Commissioner and completed it since leaving office in May 2010. His revelations include that the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown became so hostile that Blair described his chancellor as "mad, bad, dangerous, and beyond redemption" and likened Brown's behaviour to that of a "mafioso" in his dealings with him. Much has been written about Mandelson as the person at the heart of the New Labour project, but here is the unvarnished truth from the man himself.
My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan - 1989
. . . But now those years are over, and it's my turn to describe what happened. . . ."About Ronald Reagan: "Although Ronnie loves people, he often seems remote, and he doesn't let anybody get too close. There's a wall around him. He lets me come closer than anyone else, but there are times when even I feel that barrier."About being a mother: "What I wanted most in all the world was to be a good wife and mother. As things turned out, I guess I've been more successful at the first than at the second."About her influence: "I make no apologies for telling Ronnie what I thought. Just because you're married doesn't mean you have no right to express your opinions. For eight years I was sleeping with the president, and if that doesn't give you special access, I don't know what does."About astrology: "What it boils down to is that each person has his or her own ways of coping with trauma and grief, with the pain of life, and astrology was one of mine. Don't criticize me, I wanted to say, until you have stood in my place. This helped me. Nobody was hurt by it--except, possibly, me."About Don Regan: "His very first day on the job, Don said that he saw himself as the 'chief operating officer' of the country. But he was hired to be chief of staff. . . . Although I believed for a long time that Donald Regan was in the wrong job, my 'power' in getting him to leave has been greatly exaggerated. Believe me, if I really were the dragon lady that he described in his book, he would have been out the door many months earlier."
Comrade Corbyn: A Very Unlikely Coup: How Jeremy Corbyn Stormed to the Labour Leadership
Rosa Prince - 2016
The book also examines his early life in rural Shropshire, his support for contentious causes such as Palestinian freedom and a peace process in Northern Ireland.
The Long and Winding Road
Alan Johnson - 2016
This third volume tells of Alan’s early political skirmishes as a trades union leader, where his negotiating skills and charismatic style soon came to the notice of Tony Blair and other senior members of the Labour Party.As a result, Alan was chosen to stand in the constituency of Hull West and Hessle, and entered Parliament as an MP after the landslide election victory for Labour in May 1997. But this is no self-aggrandizing memoir of Westminster politicking and skulduggery. Supporting the struggle of his constituents, the Hull trawlermen and their families, for justice comes more naturally to Alan than do the byzantine complexities of Parliamentary procedure. But of course he does succeed there, and rises through various ministerial positions to the office of Home Secretary in 2009.In The Long and Winding Road, Alan’s characteristic honesty and authenticity shine through every word. His book takes you into a world which is at once familiar and strange: this is politics as you’ve never seen it before…
Walking with Lions: Tales from a Diplomatic Past
K. Natwar Singh - 2012
A week passed. President Amin then summoned the minister and asked, 'Did you carry out my orders?' He replied saying that there was a problem. 'What problem?' the president inquired. 'Your Excellency, there is a country called Cyprus.The people are called Cypriots. If Uganda were to be called Idi, we would be called Idiots.' There are few leaders that K. Natwar Singh, in a diplomatic career spanning more than three decades, has not known -and fewer still about whom he has no story to tell. In Walking with Lions: Tales from a Diplomatic Past, Singh puts together fifty episodes that entertain, inform and illuminate.Featured here is Indira Gandhi as a statesman and friend, alongside other renowned figures such as Fidel Castro, Haile Selassie and Zia-ul-Haq. Singh analyses some personalities with disarming candour, among them Morarji Desai and Lord Mountbatten; at other times, his admiration for leaders like C. Rajagopalalchari and Nelson Mandela shines through. In these pages you will also find a rare, fascinating glimpse of Godman Chandraswami and his cohort Mamaji, and their interaction with a surprisingly submissive Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher. Besides, there are short tributes to artists, writers, cricketers and film stars, like M.F. Husain, Nadine Gordimer, Don Bradman and Dev Anand. Recounted with empathy and humour, this collection of stories from contemporary history is a warm, unaffected and reassuring reminder that the great too can be as fallible as the rest of us.
My Life, Volume I: The Early Years
Bill Clinton - 2005
It shows us the progress of a remarkable American, who, through his own enormous energies and efforts, made the unlikely journey from Hope, Arkansas, to the White House—a journey fueled by an impassioned interest in the political process which manifested itself at every stage of his life: in college, working as an intern for Senator William Fulbright; at Oxford, becoming part of the Vietnam War protest movement; at Yale Law School, campaigning on the grassroots level for Democratic candidates; back in Arkansas, running for Congress, attorney general, and governor.We see his career shaped by his resolute determination to improve the life of his fellow citizens, an unfaltering commitment to civil rights, and an exceptional understanding of the practicalities of political life.We come to understand the emotional pressures of his youth—born after his father’s death; caught in the dysfunctional relationship between his feisty, nurturing mother and his abusive stepfather, whom he never ceased to love and whose name he took; drawn to the brilliant, compelling Hillary Rodham, whom he was determined to marry; passionately devoted, from her infancy, to their daughter, Chelsea, and to the entire experience of fatherhood; slowly and painfully beginning to comprehend how his early denial of pain led him at times into damaging patterns of behavior.President Clinton’s book is also the fullest, most concretely detailed, most nuanced account of a presidency ever written—encompassing not only the high points and crises but the way the presidency actually works: the day-to-day bombardment of problems, personalities, conflicts, setbacks, achievements.It is a testament to the positive impact on America and on the world of his work and his ideals.It is the gripping account of a president under concerted and unrelenting assault orchestrated by his enemies on the Far Right, and how he survived and prevailed. It is a treasury of moments caught alive, among them:• The ten-year-old boy watching the national political conventions on his family’s new (and first) television set.• The young candidate looking for votes in the Arkansas hills and the local seer who tells him, “Anybody who would campaign at a beer joint in Joiner at midnight on Saturday night deserves to carry one box. . . . You’ll win here. But it’ll be the only damn place you win in this county.” (He was right on both counts.)• The roller-coaster ride of the 1992 campaign.• The extraordinarily frank exchanges with Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole.• The delicate manipulation needed to convince Rabin and Arafat to shake hands for the camera while keeping Arafat from kissing Rabin.• The cost, both public and private, of the scandal that threatened the presidency.Here is the life of a great national and international figure, revealed with all his talents and contradictions, told openly, directly, in his own completely recognizable voice. A unique book by a unique American.From the Hardcover edition.
Coming Up Trumps: A Memoir
Jean Trumpington - 2014
In this characteristically trenchant memoir, the indomitable Jean Trumpington looks back on her long and remarkable life. The daughter of an officer in the Bengal Lancers and an American heiress, Jean Campbell-Harris was born into a world of considerable privilege, but the Wall Street Crash entirely wiped out her mother's fortune. Leaving school at 15, without ever taking an exam, the young Jean Campbell-Harris was sent to Paris to study art and both French and German, but two years later, with the outbreak of World War II, she became a land girl—on a farm owned by Lloyd George, a family friend—however, she soon changed direction, joining naval intelligence at Bletchley Park, where she stayed for the rest of the war. After the war she worked first in Paris and then in New York, on Madison Avenue, with advertising's "mad men." It was in New York that she met her husband, the historian Alan Barker, and their marriage, in 1954, ushered in the happiest period of her life—bringing up her only son, Adam, and becoming a not entirely conventional headmaster's wife, before embarking on her distinguished political career, as a Cambridge City councillor, Mayor of Cambridge, and, then, in 1980, a life peer. Forthright, witty, and deliciously opinionated, Coming Up Trumps is a wonderfully readable account of a life very well lived.