Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: The Alastair Campbell Diaries Volume 1 Prelude to Power 1994-1997

This Book Review was guest written by a Sixth-Form Student

This book gives a day-to-day guide about the events that Alastair Campbell went through from the day that John Smith passed away until Tony Blair walked into 10 Downing Street as the first Labour Prime Minister since 1979. This long diary from 1994-1997 gives an excellent insight into the British media and the personalities that were involved within politics in the 1990’s.

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Book Review – No.10: The Geography of Power at Downing Street

Reading this book, as a Politics teacher, was either informative or interesting throughout, it never failed to deliver on one of these criteria. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book to read.

Plenty of films and TV Series delve into the geography of the West Wing of the White House. Of course, The West Wing, is the most prominent of these. Few do the same in the UK. Even Yes Prime Minister is largely based from the Cabinet Room and the the office of the Cabinet Secretary. This book attempts to explain how Downing Street works, how it has evolved and why this is important.

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Book Review – Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics

This is an interesting little book. Short, with only 112 pages, it really encompasses Sumption’s views on Britain’s democratic system and the role of law within it. Alongside it being a gentle but generally enjoyable read, not a chapter went by where I didn’t think it would make ideal extension reading for a sixth form student.

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Book Review – Punch and Judy Politics: An Insiders’ Guide to Prime Minister’s Questions

This is a very intriguing book. When people see it, their first question is ‘how can you write a book about an event that is 30 minutes long?’ What the book does, however, is to show that the 30 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon is the tip of the iceberg:

“ PMQs is more than a question and answer session: when used properly, it is a vital tool of internal management for both government and opposition, helping to identify problems and weaknesses and to find solutions to them”

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Book Review – Unspeakable by John Bercow

Warning: Before starting this book, access to an adequate dictionary is advised. Even as a child Bercow recalls how he was called a ‘walking dictionary’ and his tendency to use infrequently deployed words from the Chair is certainly repeated in this book!

In his decade as Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow became, without any doubt, the most controversial Speaker in modern parliamentary history. In the final quarter of his term as Speaker, it appeared that even any veneer of impartiality had began to fade. In this book the shackles of neutrality are completely off and the author appears to revel, at times far too much, in this newfound freedom.

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