Iain Dale’s Christmas Book Recommendations 2016

  • December 05, 2016 10:00
  • Iain Dale

Given that there is only one bookshop chain left in this country, a lot of people who are interested in political books often miss out on books they would love to read if only they knew they existed. So I thought I’d give you all some ideas for some Christmas presents for friends and family alike. Here are some of the books I have enjoyed reading and publishing this year…

Remember, if you order any of them from the Biteback Publishing or Politicos you get free postage for all orders for £20 and over.

 

COALITION
DAVID LAWS
Biteback
Hardback
£25

A doorstop of a book, this is without doubt the best account of the Coalition to date. Laws clearly comes at it from a LibDem viewpoint, but the book rarely descends into a party political treatise. Written with a light touch, Laws has a style which engages the reader from page one. The book is based on his own diaries and he also had access to Nick Clegg’s. Somewhat unexpectedly, George Osborne emerges from the book with a lot of credit, but David Cameron does not. Laws is also brutal about some of his own LibDem colleagues.

BUY HERE

 

OUTSIDE INSIDE: VOLUME 5 OF THE ALASTAIR CAMPBELL DIARIES
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
Biteback
Hardback
£25

The reviews invariably describe this as the best volume of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries so far. And they’re right. They cover the two years following his departure from Downing Street, but as the title suggests, he never really left. His accounts of the TB/GBies leave the reader open-mouthed. Campbell is nothing if not brutally honest about his own sense of lack of direction now that he is no longer in Number 10, and his battles with depression reveal a much more sensitive side to his character than we’re used to.

BUY HERE

 

KIND OF BLUE
KEN CLARKE
Macmillan
Hardback
£20

This is exactly the kind of book I hoped Ken Clarke would write. It’s authentically him, by which I mean you can tell he was written it himself by its tone. When I finished it, I almost went through a mini grieving process. Every chapter contains some gems and he even makes being a junior Transport Minister sound quite interesting. He can be devastating about some of his colleagues, but he’s never cruel. A really elegant book.

BUY HERE

 

ALL OUT WAR
TIM SHIPMAN
HarperCollins
Hardback
£20

Of all the books written about the EU Referendum this is not only the most definitive and all encompassing, it’s the best. Shipman knows all the main players and got them all to talk – and spill. His writing style keeps you interested and he’s brilliantly anecdotal without being judgemental. This book book deserves to be a bestseller and the author deserves many awards for it, not least for managing to complete it in a few months. It’s certainly not a slender tome either.

BUY HERE

 

UNLEASHING DEMONS
CRAIG OLIVER
Hodder 
Hardback
£20

This book was very unfairly traduced by a series of reviewers with many an axe to grind. It’s written from the Remain viewpoint, and very interesting it is too. It demonstrated how Downing Street was really running the Remain campaign and what a hash they made of it. Oliver is very good at identifying all the faults of the Remain campaign – and there were many – but rarely holds himself to account for any of them. Given the breakneck speed at which this book was published, it is excellent, and at times emotional. Ignore the bad reviews, it’s well worth a read.

BUY HERE

 

SPLASHED! 
TOM MANGOLD
Biteback
Paperback
£12.99

Tom Mangold is one of those gnarled old reporters who’ve seen it all. Until I read it, I had no idea that he had had a very successful career on Fleet Street before joining Panorama, where he spent several decades as a roving reporter. His tales of derring do invariably leave the reader open-mouthed and astonished. He finds himself in some right old scrapes and tells of some fascinating encounters with some right wrong ‘uns. They don’t make them like Mangold anymore, unfortunately. His chapters on the Profumo scandal (He was with Stephen Ward the night before he took his own life) and meetings with the Krays are especially memorable.

BUY HERE

 

SPEAKING OUT
ED BALLS
Hutchinson
Hardback
£20

This is one of my favourite books of the year. Anyone expecting a worthy tome of economic treatise will be sadly disappointed. What the reader gets is a very honest and forthright account of a political career which ended in ultimate failure. I say ‘honest’ because Ed Balls is incredibly honest about his own political failings and human frailties. It’s as if he came of age in his late forties. It reveals the human side of Ed Balls, which some of us always knew was there, but others only got to see on Strictly Come Dancing. I love the way he writes the book as a series of lessons for aspirant politicians.

BUY HERE

 

PRIME MINISTER CORBYN & OTHER THINGS THAT NEVERHAPPENED 
DUNCAN BRACK & IAIN DALE
Biteback 
Hardback
£14.99

This is a book of 22 political and historical counterfactuals. Forgive the indulgence of including it in this list, since I am the co-editor. It’s the fourth in the series and contains Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Britain had lost the Falklands War, or Scotland had voted ‘Yes’ in 2014 or if German reunification had never happened, or if the Conservatives had won an overall majority in 2010, or if Lyndon Johnson had been shot down in 1942, or if David Miliband had beaten Ed Miliband to the Labour leadership. Then this is the book you’ve always wanted!

BUY HERE

 

THE BAD BOYS OF BREXIT
ARRON BANKS
Biteback
Hardback
£18.99

The so-called Bad Boys are Arron Banks himself, his comms manager Andy Wigmore, Leave.eu donor Richard Tice and of course, Nigel Farage. This is partisan politics at its best – four naughty boys try to usurp the political establishment – and it’s great fun. It has many laugh out loud moments as the bad boys try to create havoc in the political media and launch a campaign to win the referendum. Banks takes great pleasure in insulting his opponents and colleagues alike, and very few characters in this book escape with their reputations intact.

BUY HERE

 

POWER & PRAGMATISM
MALCOLM RIFKIND
Biteback
Hardback
£25

Possibly not the most alluring book title of any memoir I have ever published, but this is a very elegantly written book, just as you would expect from someone with Rifkind’s background. His early life is just as fascinating as his accounts of battles with Margaret Thatcher. In both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, during some of the most turbulent years of the late twentieth century, he had a ringside seat at Margaret Thatcher’s historic summit with President Gorbachev, was in charge of British troops during the Bosnian conflict, helped change Polish history during the Cold War, and held secret negotiations on the Falklands with the Argentinians. For his robustness against the Kremlin’s aggression in Ukraine, he is currently banned from Russia by President Putin.

BUY HERE

 

CREDIBLE & TRUE
HARVEY PROCTOR
Biteback
Hardback
£25

Bookshops wouldn’t stock it, there were very few reviews, but for me this was one of the best books I published in 2017. It’s certainly not a conventional memoir, but it’s written straight from the heart and it puts into question many aspects of a criminal justice system we all take for granted. However, it’s not all about the events of the last couple of years, it’s a complete autobiography and a bloody good read. He’s very open about his homosexuality and how he came to be convicted in 1987 of having sex with a 19 year old, something which of course wouldn’t an offence nowadays.

BUY HERE

 

THE BREXIT CLUB
Owen Bennett
Biteback
Paperback
£12.99

Written by one of the brightest young, up and coming political journalists of our age, Owen Bennett has written the inside story of Leave’s victory. As D-Day drew near,Bennett went deep into Leave territory to reveal the inside story of the battle for Brexit. Behind a campaign promising hope and glory – but seemingly mired in blood, sweat and tears – Bennett discovered a plethora of Leave groups, all riven with feuds: the Tory ‘posh boys’ against the ‘toxic’ hardliners; UKIP’s only MP against the rest of the party; Michael Gove’s former lieutenant Dominic Cummings against almost everyone else. Charting the crusade from the massing of the UKIP foot soldiers after the general election to the arrival of the Cabinet cavalry after Cameron’s Brussels deal and the dramatic final weeks’ fighting on battle buses, The Brexit Club reveals the truth behind the campaign that divided friends, families and, ultimately, the country.

BUY HERE

 

WE ARE ARRESTED
CAN DUNDAR
Biteback
Hardback
£16.99

Following the dramatic events of July 2016, the global spotlight has fallen on Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. International observers fear the attempted coup has given Erdogan, already known for his attacks on press freedom, an excuse to further suppress all opposition. In November 2015, Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the national Cumhuriyet newspaper, was arrested on charges of espionage, helping a terrorist organisation, trying to topple the government and revealing state secrets. His transgression? Publishing photographic evidence of a highly illegal covert arms shipment by the Turkish secret service to radical Islamist organisations fighting government forces in Syria – a crime that was in the government’s interest to conceal, and a journalist’s duty to expose. Arraigned by the President himself, who called for Dündar to receive two life sentences, he was held in solitary confinement in Turkey’s Silivri Prison for three months while awaiting trial. We Are Arrested is Dündar’s enthralling account of the newspaper’s decision to publish and the events that unfolded as a result – including would-be suicide bombings, assassination attempts and fierce attacks from pro-government media – as well as the time he served behind bars for defending the public’s right to know.

BUY HERE

 

VICTORIA CROSS HEROES II
MICHAEL ASHCROFT
Biteback
Hardback
£25

The Victoria Cross is Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious gallantry medal for courage in the face of the enemy. It has been bestowed upon 1,355 heroic individuals from all walks of life since its creation during the Crimean War. Lord Ashcroft, who has been fascinated with bravery since he was a young boy, now owns 200 VCs, by far the largest collection of its kind in the world. Following on from the bestselling Victoria Cross Heroes, first published in 2006 to mark the 150th anniversary of the award, Victoria Cross Heroes: Volume II gives extraordinary accounts of the bravery behind the newest additions to Lord Ashcroft’s VC collection – those decorations purchased in the last decade.

BUY HERE

 

THE CABINET OFFICE 1916-2016
ANTHONY SELDON
Biteback
Hardback
£25

Since its creation in the depths of the Great War in December 1916, the Cabinet Office has retained a uniquely central place in the ever-changing political landscape of the last century. While the revolving door of 10 Downing Street admits and ejects its inhabitants every few years, the Cabinet Office remains a constant, supporting and guiding successive Prime Ministers and their governments, regardless of their political leanings, all the while keeping the British state safe, stable and secure. Written with unparalleled access to documents and personnel by acclaimed political historian, commentator and biographer Anthony Seldon, this lavishly illustrated history is the definitive inside account of what has really gone on in the last 100 years of British politics.

BUY HERE

 

FORMAN’S GAMES
LANCE FORMAN
Biteback
Hardback 
£20

A full, unexpurgated account of his fight to keep the firm alive, Forman’s Games lifts the lid on the fierce battle that pitched Forman’s, the country’s finest purveyor of smoked salmon, against the combined might of the UK authorities and the IOCin the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. It is a story of skulduggery and bullying mounted against 350 local businesses, employing over 12,00 people, who stood in the way not just of the world’s most famous sporting event, but of an opportunity to develop the land on which they had successfully run businesses over decades.

BUY HERE

 

STOCKING FILLERS

THE MARGARET THATCHER COLOURING BOOK
NATHAN BRENVILLE
Biteback
Paperback
£8.99

For anyone who’s ever wanted to express their feelings for Lady Thatcher through the medium of colouring in… You know you want to. An ideal stocking filler for the discerning Corbynista. Bound to get Christmas Day off with a bang… At long last, The Margaret Thatcher Colouring Book offers our proud do-it-yourself nation the chance to decorate the Iron Lady in the technicolour magnificence she deserves. Featuring a cast of luminaries including Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, General Pinochet and Jeremy Corbyn, this brief, beautiful and completely inaccurate illustrated biography of Britain’s first female Prime Minister promises hours of creative gratification.

BUY HERE

 

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE
MAUREEN LIPMAN
The Robson Press
Hardback
£9.99

Have you ever wondered what the wizarding world might look like if it were graced with a character like Harry Otter? Or what American politics would be under the administration of Squirrelly Clinton? Maureen Lipman has. Inspired by her doodle of Oscar Wildebeest – a steer in a dinner jacket – the renowned author and actress began dabbling in the dark art of the unholy celebrity/animal mashup. When she woke at 3 a.m. and said out loud, ‘Tuna Stubbs!’, the die was cast. A book was born. lt’s a Jungle Out There presents a dizzying array of stars as you’ve – really – never seen them before. Featuring such luminaries as Leonaardvark DiCaprio, Giraffa Nadal and Ellafantz Gerald, this otterly brilliant collection is guaranteed to quack you up.

BUY HERE

 

MORE SEX, LIES & THE BALLOT BOX
PHILIP COWLEY & ROBERT FORD
Biteback
Paperback
£14.99

Have you ever wondered how people feel about sleeping with the political enemy? Or whether gambling markets are best at predicting political outcomes? Or who Santa Claus would vote for? Then look no further. More Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box brings us another collection of concise chapters penned by leading political experts and delving into the fascinating field of electoral politics. Following on from the success of its bestselling predecessor, this illuminating book shines a light on how we vote in Britain and around the world. You’ll learn about the shifting landscape of party politics and the perceptions and misconceptions that shape our opinions of our politicians and of each other. You’ll learn about the factors informing voter habits – from class, race and gender to the internet and the weather. You’ll also learn which political party has the most sexually satisfied supporters.

BUY HERE

 

LITTLE RED BOOK OF CORBYN JOKES
JASON SINCLAIR & JOHN RAIN
Biteback
Paperback
£6.99

Whichever side of the Labour Party you’re on, you could probably use a good laugh right now… So rejoice, comrades, for we have the solution. Packed with devastating wit, this priceless compendium has all the finest jokes, scenes and anecdotes to see you through a long, hard political winter. The Little Red Book of Corbyn Jokes – putting the ‘ha’ into the hard left. Boom boom. A socialist lion walked into a bar. The barman said, ‘What’s the big Clause Four?’

BUY HERE

 

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Bernie Backs Hillary

  • July 26, 2016 12:00
  • Sam Jones

“Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States”

Hillary Rising
The Politics, Persona and Policies of a New American Dynasty
by James D. Boys
Paperback £9.99 (RRP £14.99) | eBook £6.99 (RRP £10.99)
Start by reading the introduction here, for free!
 
Yesterday, at the Democratic Party’s National Convention in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton’s former rival Bernie Sanders put aside any bitterness and proclaimed that she ‘must become the next President of the United States’, going on to say that ‘while Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths’. Hillary also received a glowing and emotional endorsement from Michelle Obama, and with the convention continuing through the rest of the week with speeches from former President Clinton and President Obama, the Democrats are set to put their full weight behind Hillary Clinton, the woman who may well soon make history as the first female President of the United States.
 
Ready for Hillary?
by Robin Renwick
Hardback £9.99 (RRP £17.99)
eBook £8.99 (RRP £13.99)
 
Robin Renwick was British Ambassador in Washington when the Clintons occupied the White House. In Ready for Hillary?, he paints a vivid and intimate portrait of Hillary Clinton and asks what is she really like? What can the world expect from her if she gets back into the White House? What kind of President would she be?
 
 
 
Hillary
by Karen Blumenthal
 
Critically acclaimed author Karen Blumenthal gives us an intimate and unflinching look at the public and personal life of Hillary Clinton, a woman who has fascinated – and divided – the public and who continues to push boundaries.
 
 
 
 
 
Hard Choices
by Hillary Clinton
 
‘All of us face hard choices in our lives. Life is about making such choices.’
Hillary Clinton gives an inside account of the crises, choices and challenges she faced during her four years as America's 67th Secretary of State, and shows how those experiences drive her view of the future.

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Euro 2016 kicks off in France... Get Bobby Moore for £6.99!

  • June 10, 2016 11:00
  • Sam Jones

Bobby Moore
The Definitive Biography
by Jeff Powell
Paperback £6.99 (RRP £9.99) | eBook £4.19 (RRP £6.99)
 
This weekend is a big one for footy followers as France open Euro 2016 this evening and England face Russia on Saturday. Could 2016 be our year? In the spirit of optimism, we're celebrating the Euros kicking-off with the definitive biography of Bobby Moore, the sporting hero who captained England to glory in 1966. The book is authored by Jeff Powell, one of Britain’s finest sports writers, and you can pick it up for just £6.99 this weekend.
 

“A worthy testament to a fine man and a simply marvellous footballer.” – Daily Mail

“It is Powell’s lucid picture of Moore the footballer … which makes the most indelible impression … An admirable portrait.” – Daily Telegraph

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Farage on Farage

  • June 09, 2016 12:00
  • Sam Jones

Nigel Farage In His Own Words  Compiled by Andrew Liddle
Paperback £2.99 (RRP £6.99) | eBook £2.99 (RRP £3.99)
 
Nigel Farage took to our screens on Tuesday evening to answer questions from a live audience and attempt to convince viewers that Brexit is the best choice for Britain on 23 June. Whether you agree with Farage or oppose him, love him or loathe him, no one can deny the reinvigorating effect that he has had on political debate in Britain in recent years.
In recognition of this controversial figure, you can pick up a copy of Nigel Farage In His Own Words for just £2.99, where journalist Andrew Liddle offers an entertaining selection of Nigel’s most controversial, often hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is bon mots and politically incorrect public utterances, as well as some of the heated responses they have generated.
 
Following Farage by Owen Bennett
Paperback £6.99 (£12.99) | eBook £6.99 (£9.99)
 
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 meets Louis Theroux, Following Farage recounts Owen Bennett’s travels and travails as he follows, drinks with, mocks and even occasionally defends the phenomenon that is UKIP as it prepares to march upon Westminster.
 

 

 

 

The Purple Revolution by Nigel Farage
Paperback £4.99 (£9.99) | eBook £3.99 (£6.99)
 

Nigel Farage reveals for the first time exactly how, over the past few years, he and his supporters have ushered in a very English revolution: secretly courting MPs right under the nose of the political establishment, in the tearooms and wine bars of the House of Lords.

 

 

 
 
Revolt on the Right by Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford
 
The winner of Political Book of the Year at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards 2015, this book scrupulously examines the rise in support for UKIP and explains how conventional wisdoms about the radical right are wrong.

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Hillary’s making history

  • June 07, 2016 12:00
  • Sam Jones

Today, Hillary Clinton has been declared the Democratic presidential nominee, making her the first woman in history to lead a major bid for the White House.

Late last night, Associated Press reported that Clinton had won the support of the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, so although there are still primaries to be held, Clinton is set go head-to-head with Republican nominee Donald Trump in the presidential race later this year. We've brought together a couple of books which explain the politics, persona and policies of who may soon be the first ever female President of the United States.

Hillary Rising by James D. Boys

Paperback £9.99 (RRP £14.99) | eBook £8.99 (RRP £10.99)

James D. Boys's new biography Hillary Rising examines Hillary's extraordinary rise and reveals the political ideology and core principles that have remained a constant throughout her life.

“A comprehensive analysis of Clinton’s career and her chances of achieving that lifetime ambition [...] Only time will tell whether this hard-won knowledge will take her all the way to the White House. While you wait, Hillary Rising is a great reminder of the story to date.” Progress​

 

Ready for Hillary? by Robin Renwick

Hardback £10.99 (RRP £17.99) | eBook £9.99 (RRP £13.99)

As British ambassador in Washington when the Clintons occupied the White House, Robin Renwick asks, what is Hillary Clinton really like? Can she win? What can the world expect from her if she gets back to the White House? What kind of President would she be? Renwick's Ready for Hillary? is a vivid and intimate portrait of the woman who could become the first female President of the United States.

 

 

 

Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton

Paperback £10.99

‘All of us face hard choices in our lives. Life is about making such choices.’

Hillary Clinton’s inside account of the crises, choices and challenges she faced during her four years as America's 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future.

 

 

 

Hillary by Karen Blumenthal

Hardback £12.99

Critically acclaimed author Karen Blumenthal gives us an intimate and unflinching look at the public and personal life of Hillary Clinton, a woman who has fascinated – and divided – the public and who continues to push boundaries.

 

 

 

 

A Woman in Charge by Carl Bernstein

Paperback £10.99

A detailed, sophisticated and revealing portrait of the complex political meteor who has already helped define one presidency and may well become the woman in charge of another.

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