Politics & Government Books
Leading Winston Churchill scholar Dr. Christopher Catherwood reveals what the former prime minister - a man often declared the greatest statesman to have ever lived - was like as a man in this painstakingly researched biography. It's packed with photographs and artefacts from the former PM's life.
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Drawing on archive interviews, artworks and personal notes for some of Churchill's most famous and inspiring wartime speeches, this book explores his hidden history in detail. From being homesick while at boarding school to his successes and failures (he disastrous Gallipoli campaign and his blind spot over India), it reveals him to be a powerful, colourful and remarkable character.
This is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated in political history and those who have gained an interest in the politician after seeing John Lithgow in The Crown or Gary Oldman's Oscar-winning performance in The Darkest Hour.
Former home secretary Alan Johnson celebrates his love of music in this marvellously entertaining memoir.
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He recalls first hearing Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly's True Love on the radio as a child in the 1950s and how this led to a lifelong passion. He fondly remembers humming Elvis Costello's Watching the Detectives while working as a postman and celebrates his love of artists ranging from Lonnie Donegan and The Beatles to David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.
A great read for music lovers and those who are interested in politics, this book lets you discover more about Alan Johnson the man while also transporting you back to a world of jukeboxes full of unashamedly romantic love songs and heartbreaking ballads.
The Statesman is a difficult and puzzling Platonic dialogue. In A Stranger's Knowledge Marquez argues that Plato abandons here the classic idea, prominent in the Republic, that the philosopher, qua philosopher, is qualified to rule. Instead, the dialogue presents the statesman as different from the philosopher, the possessor of a specialist expertise that cannot be reduced to philosophy. The expertise is of how to make a city resilient against internal and external conflict in light of the imperfect sociality of human beings and the poverty of their reason. This expertise, however, cannot be produced on demand: one cannot train statesmen like one might train carpenters. Worse, it cannot be made acceptable to the citizens, or operate in ways that are not deeply destructive to the city's stability. Even as the political community requires his knowledge for its preservation, the genuine statesman must remain a stranger to the city. Marquez shows how this impasse is the key to understanding the ambiguous reevaluation of the rule of law that is the most striking feature of the political philosophy of the Statesman. The law appears here as a mere approximation of the expertise of the inevitably absent statesman, dim images and static snapshots of the clear and dynamic expertise required to steer the ship of state across the storms of the political world. Yet such laws, even when they are not created by genuine statesmen, can often provide the city with a limited form of cognitive capital that enables it to preserve itself in the long run, so long as citizens, and especially leaders, retain a "philosophical" attitude towards them. It is only when rulers know that they do not know better than the laws what is just or good (and yet want to know what is just and good) that the city can be preserved. The dialogue is thus, in a sense, the vindication of the philosopher-king in the absence of genuine political knowledge.
- RRP £40.99
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In July 2011 the Republic of South Sudan achieved independence, concluding what had been Africa's longest running civil war. The process leading to independence was driven by the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement, a primarily Southern rebel force and political movement intent on bringing about the reformed unity of the whole Sudan. Through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, a six year peace process unfolded in the form of an interim period premised upon 'making unity attractive' for the Sudan. A failed exercise, it culminated in an almost unanimous vote for independence by Southerners in a referendum held in January 2011. Violence has continued since, and a daunting possibility for South Sudan has arisen - to have won independence only to descend into its own civil war, with the regime in Khartoum aiding and abetting factionalism to keep the new state weak and vulnerable. Achieving a durable peace will be a massive challenge, and resolving the issues that so inflamed Southerners historically - unsupportive governance, broad feelings of exploitation and marginalisation and fragile ethnic politics - will determine South Sudan's success or failure at statehood. A story of transformation and of victory against the odds, this book reviews South Sudan's modern history as a contested region and assesses the political, social and security dynamics that will shape its immediate future as Africa's newest independent state.
Uses manifesto analysis to measure political nationalism in Scotland. Murray Stewart Leith and Daniel P. J. Soule explore the importance of groups, concepts and events such as the SNP and devolution, unionism, the political elite, political and public discourse, inclusion and exclusion, enforced nationalism, and birth, race and citizenship to nationalist feeling in Scotland. The authors set the Modernist view of Scottish nationalism against the work of Gellner, Anderson and Billig to create their own 'mixed method' of evaluating nationalism. This title presents a detailed consideration of the language used within the political and nationalist arena in Scotland. It compares a variety of attitudes and opinions held within Scotland from the political elite to the masses. It introduces a new method for measuring political nationalism using manifesto analysis.
First appearing in 2005 and quickly selling out, this fully revised edition of 'Thailand's Political History' continues in the same style as the first but with its scope dramatically widened. Starting earlier than the old edition, 'Thailand's Political History' discusses the development and evolution of the Siamese state from the early Sukhothai period through the fall of Ayutthaya to the rise of the Chakri dynasty in the late eighteenth century and its consolidation of power in the nineteenth. Moving into the twentieth century it traces the emergence of the Thai nation state, the large-scale investments in infrastructure and the commitment to economic expansion that have occurred since the 1950s onwards. A new final chapter brings the reader up-to-date and addresses Thailand's current political situation spanning the rise and fall of Thaksin Shinawatra to the devisive and at times violent polarisation of Thai society. It traces the emergence of the red and yellow shirts, the takeover of Suvarnabhumi airport by the PAD and the occupation of the Rachaprasong intersection by the UDD and their eventual violent dispersal by the Thai military. Often at variance with dominant interpretations of nationalistic history, this absorbing account throws fresh and illumininating light on the political events in the past 700 years.
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This book, a collection of Alex Danchev's essays on the theme of art, war and terror, newly available in paperback, offers a sustained demonstration of the way in which works of art can help us to explore the most difficult ethical and political issues of our time: war, terror, extermination, torture and abuse. It takes seriously the idea of the artist as moral witness to this realm, considering war photography, for example, as a form of humanitarian intervention. War poetry, war films and war diaries are also considered in a broad view of art, and of war. Kafka is drawn upon to address torture and abuse in the war on terror; Homer is utilised to analyse current talk of 'barbarisation'. The paintings of Gerhard Richter are used to investigate the terrorists of the Baader-Meinhof group, while the photographs of Don McCullin and the writings of Vassily Grossman and Primo Levi allow the author to propose an ethics of small acts of altruism. This book examines the nature of war over the last century, from the Great War to a particular focus on the current 'Global War on Terror'. It investigates what it means to be human in war, the cost it exacts and the ways of coping.Several of the essays therefore have a biographical focus.
The New Old World looks at the history of the European Union, the core continental countries within it, and the issue of its further expansion into Asia. It opens with a consideration of the origins and outcomes of European integration since the Second World War, and how today's EU has been theorized across a range of contemporary disciplines. It then moves to more detailed accounts of political and cultural developments in the three principal states of the original Common Market: France, Germany and Italy. A third section explores the interrelated histories of Cyprus and Turkey, which pose a leading geopolitical challenge to the Community. The book ends by tracing ideas of European unity from the Enlightenment to the present, and analyzing their bearing on the future of the Union. The New Old World offers a critical portrait of a continent now increasingly hailed as a moral and political example to the world at large.
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'Perhaps the best introduction yet to the roots of Thailand's present political impasse. A brilliant book.' Simon Long, The Economist Struggling to emerge from a despotic past, and convulsed by an intractable conflict that will determine its future, Thailand stands at a defining moment in its history. Scores have been killed on the streets of Bangkok. Freedom of speech is routinely denied. Democracy appears increasingly distant. And many Thais fear that the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej is expected to unleash even greater instability. Yet in spite of the impact of the crisis, and the extraordinary importance of the royal succession, they have never been comprehensively analysed - until now. Breaking Thailand's draconian lese majeste law, Andrew MacGregor Marshall is one of the only journalists covering contemporary Thailand to tell the whole story. Marshall provides a comprehensive explanation that for the first time makes sense of the crisis, revealing the unacknowledged succession conflict that has become entangled with the struggle for democracy in Thailand.
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In November 2011, an agreement brokered by the GCC brought an end to Yemen's tumultuous uprising. The National Dialogue Conference has opened a window of opportunity for change, bringing Yemen's main political forces together with groups that were politically marginalized. Yet, the risk of collapse is serious, and if Yemen is to remain a viable state, it must address numerous political, social and economic challenges. In this invaluable volume, experts with extensive Yemen experience provide innovative analysis of the country's major crises: centralized governance, the role of the military, ethnic conflict, separatism, Islamism, foreign intervention, water scarcity and economic development. Published in association with the London Middle East Institute at SOAS, and the British Yemeni Society.
- RRP £21.99
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Welcome to the Post-Truth era - a time in which the art of the lie is shaking the very foundations of democracy and the world as we know it. The Brexit vote; Donald Trump's victory; the rejection of climate change science; the vilification of immigrants; all have been based on the power to evoke feelings and not facts. So what does it all mean and how can we champion truth in in a time of lies and 'alternative facts'? In this eye-opening and timely book, Post-Truth is distinguished from a long tradition of political lies, exaggeration and spin. What is new is not the mendacity of politicians but the public's response to it and the ability of new technologies and social media to manipulate, polarise and entrench opinion. Where trust has evaporated, conspiracy theories thrive, the authority of the media wilt and emotions matter more than facts . Now, one of the UK's most respected political journalists, Matthew d'Ancona investigates how we got here, why quiet resignation is not an option and how we can and must fight back.
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Tracing how the logic of inoperativity works in the domains of language, law, history and humanity, Agamben and Politics systematically introduces the fundamental concepts of Agamben's political thought and a critically interprets his insights in the wider context of contemporary philosophy. Agamben's commentators and critics tend to focus on his powerful critique of the Western political tradition in the Homo Sacer series. But this narrow focus serves to obscure the overall structure of Agamben's political thought, which is neither negative nor critical but affirmative. Sergei Prozorov brings out the affirmative mood of Agamben's political thought, focusing on the concept of inoperativity, which has been central to Agamben's work from his earliest writings.
The overthrow of the regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia on 14 January 2011 took the world by surprise. The popular revolt in this small Arab country and the effect it had on the wider Arab world prompted questions as to why there had been so little awareness of it up until that point. It also revealed a more general lack of knowledge about the surrounding western part of the Arab world, or the Maghreb, which had long attracted a tiny fraction of the outside interest shown in the eastern Arab world of Egypt, the Levant and the Gulf. This book examines the politics of the three states of the central Maghreb - Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco - since their achievement of independence from European colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s. It explains the political dynamics of the region by looking at the roles played by various actors such as the military, political parties and Islamist movements and addresses issues such as Berber identity and the role played by economics, as well as how the states of the region interact with each other and with the wider world.
We are supposed to love diversity as the panacea to the problems connected with mass immigration. In this thought-provoking book, Ed West investigates the heretical view that diversity is actual the scourge of our time rather than its saviour. He uncovers how over a period of 50 years successive Conservative and Labour governments have mismanaged mass immigration and have used diversity as the smoke screen to hide their mistakes. Using the latest data on immigration, he shows that diversity is leading to an increasingly fragmented society that believes in everything and nothing at the same time, and lacks the will to deal with immigration in a way that will prevent rather than create problems for future generations.
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'As one of the last remaining survivors of the Great Depression and the Second World War, I will not go gently into that good night. I want to tell you what the world looks like through my eyes, so that you can help change it...' In November 2013, 91-year-old Yorkshireman, RAF veteran and ex-carpet salesman Harry Leslie Smith's Guardian article - 'This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time' - was shared over 80,000 times on Facebook and started a huge debate about the state of society. Now he brings his unique perspective to bear on NHS cutbacks, benefits policy, political corruption, food poverty, the cost of education - and much more. From the deprivation of 1930s Barnsley and the terror of war to the creation of our welfare state, Harry has experienced how a great civilisation can rise from the rubble. But at the end of his life, he fears how easily it is being eroded. Harry's Last Stand is a lyrical, searing modern invective that shows what the past can teach us, and how the future is ours for the taking.
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Qatar and the Arab Spring offers a frank examination of Qatar's startling rise to regional and international prominence, describing how its distinctive policy stance toward the Arab Spring emerged. In only a decade, Qatari policy-makers - led by the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and his prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani - catapulted Qatar from a sleepy backwater to a regional power with truly international reach. In addition to pursuing an aggressive state-branding strategy with its successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar forged a reputation for diplomatic mediation that combined intensely personalised engagement with financial backing and favourable media coverage through the Al-Jazeera. These factors converged in early 2011 with the outbreak of the Arab Spring revolts in North Africa, Syria, and Yemen, which Qatari leaders saw as an opportunity to seal their regional and international influence, rather than as a challenge to their authority, and this guided their support of the rebellions against the Gaddafi and Assad regimes in Libya and Syria. From the high watermark of Qatari influence after the toppling of Gaddafi in 2011, that rapidly gave way to policy overreach in Syria in 2012, Coates Ulrichsen analyses Qatari ambition and capabilities as the tiny emirate sought to shape the transitions in the Arab world.
No one in 1980 could have guessed that Zimbabwe would become a failed state on such a monumental and tragic scale. In this incisive and revealing book, Richard Bourne shows how a country which had every prospect of success when it achieved a delayed independence in 1980 became a brutal police state with hyperinflation, collapsing life expectancy and abandonment by a third of its citizens less than thirty years later. Beginning with the British conquest of Zimbabwe and covering events up to the present precarious political situation, this is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and readable account of the ongoing crisis. Bourne shows that Zimbabwe's tragedy is not just about Mugabe's 'evil' but about history, Africa today and the world's attitudes towards them.
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So stands Scotland where it did? Not on your nelly. The professional classes in Scotland may be busy with Commissions, vows, deals, submissions and General Election planning but the wider Yes Movement is busy with huge spontaneous meetings involving hundreds, even thousands of people - gatherings like birds flocking before winter or starlings swooping to throw shapes into darkening skies. Because they can. Wee White Blossom is a post-indyref, poppadom-sized version of Blossom for folk who've already sampled the full bhuna. It updates Blossom with a new chapter on Scotland's Year of Living Dangerously. Lesley Riddoch shares her thoughts on the Smith Commission, the departure of Gordon Brown, the return of Alex Salmond and the latest developments in land reform and local control. She considers the future of the SNP, the Radical Independence Campaign, Common Weal, Women for Independence and Scottish Labour in the aftermath of the referendum. This is a plain-speaking, incisive call to restore equality and control to local communities and let Scotland flourish. Wee White Blossom is the ideal companion volume to Blossom, whether you want an update on the first edition or an appetiser before delving into the pages of the original.
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Whatever the eventual outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the critical questions remain: what does the Referendum vote tell us about the sort of society we are? Why was the result a shock to so many? Did we not understand how divided we were? Old against young, provincial against metropolitan, Scotland and London against much of the rest of England and Wales. Instead we must look at how our failure over decades to invest properly in the country's societal future and the life chances of the young shaped the vote this summer. Economic growth allowed Britain to live beyond its means. The gap in the skills base was concealed by immigration. The shortsightedness and dishonesty of our political class can obscure the issue; criticising the policies and practices of the establishment - important though that is - allows us to ignore the uncomfortable truths about ourselves. In Brexit and the British Stephen Green argues that it is time to acknowledge that underlying all the sound and fury of the Brexit debate was a question - whether or not fully recognised - about our identity. Are we British different, special and capable of finding our own way in the world? Who are we, who call ourselves British? Is it too easy for Remain voters to blame Brexit on post-industrial decline in the Labour heartlands, scare-mongering and deluded Little Englanders? Or is our identity more complex, deep-rooted - and perhaps, in some sense, troubling - than those of other European nations?
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"We killed Americans. We are killing Americans. We will kill Americans". (North Korean schoolchildren conjugating verbs). In North Korea, citizens found humming South Korean pop songs risk being sent to a gulag for six months of hard labour. Jail sentences are handed out if portraits of the late Kim Jong-il are not properly dusted. Shoot-to-kill orders are in effect for anyone caught trying to cross the Yalu or Tumen Rivers into China. Yet despite this, an oppressed, starving populace clings fiercely to its new Dear Leader, Kim Jong-un, and signs with the revolutionary slogan We Have Nothing To Envy line the streets of Pyongyang. So how did North Korea become this Impossible State? What does the future hold for a regime with terrifying nuclear ambitions and a seemingly endless war with its southern counterpart? Former White House adviser Victor Cha pulls back the curtain on the world's most isolated country to provide an unprecedented and timely insight into North Korea's history, present and future.
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Why are so many adult children living still living with mum and dad? Why do young people seem so disinterested in politics? And what are the hidden threats to Britain's long-term prosperity lurking in the next few decades? First published in 2010, Ed Howker and Shiv Mailk's Jilted Generation answers fundamental questions about the society you thought you knew. It identified, for the first time, the perilous position of Britain's young adults and, with a title brandished by everyone from Ed Miliband to student protesters, the book's thesis has formed a controversial but essential part of Britain's political debate. With significant additional material, this edition updates the argument and explains the real effects of austerity policies and the recession. And, crucially, it explains what must be done to protect a vital and underestimated national asset - Britain's newest adults.
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Britain's first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, smuggled wine up the Thames. Tony Blair confessed that a stiff drink and half a bottle of wine a night was a helpful crutch while in office. Joseph Stalin flushed out traitors with vodka. The disintegration of Richard Nixon and Boris Yeltsin was largely down to drink. Winston Churchill was famous for his drinking, often taking a whisky and soda first thing in the morning and champagne ritually with dinner. But why did these politicians drink and what was their tipple of choice? How did drinking shape the decisions they made? Ben Wright, political correspondent for the BBC, explores the history of alcohol within politics, from the debauched drinking practices of eighteenth-century ministers to today, often based on his own experiences supping with politicians in Westminster bars. With exclusive interviews and in-depth research, Order, Order! uses alcohol as a lens through which to meet a remarkable cast of politicians, to understand their times and discover what drove them to drink. A story of boozy bon viveurs - but with many casualties, too - and the complexity of the human condition and the pull of the bottle.
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What has happened to America, and what's become of the American dream? Behind the self-confident image of world's most influential country we now see a nation tearing itself apart, its people angry and afraid. The United States may arguably be the world's only superpower, but its internal tensions are a symptom of suffering and deep division, a condition only exacerbated by the election of President Donald Trump. In this important and resonant book, expatriate journalist Alan Friedman returns to America after thirty years living in Europe and conducts a deep survey of emotions in America's heartlands. Set against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election campaign and the subsequent inauguration of President Trump, Friedman tells a vivid story of terrible inequality - from the excesses of Wall Street to the grinding poverty of Mississippi - and examines the issues, from racism and gun control to Obamacare, that have polarised a nation.It examines the real America through the mouths of its citizens and combines this with a detailed portrait of the new President and his team, making use of the author's own interviews and meetings with Trump and with Russia's President Putin, in order to analyse the root causes of America's condition and explore the real risks of a Trump presidency for America and the world. Dark and provocative, This Is Not America may just be the most important book of the year.
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Politics in the West has become unpredictable and tumultuous. In recent years, voters have deserted the political centre like never before. Whether it's Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, Tsipras, or even Corbyn, why have outsiders and populists flourished on far left and far right? Why is the political landscape shifting so rapidly? In this landmark book, celebrated political commentator Steve Richards provides a clear and penetrating analysis of the biggest political story of the past fifty years. He argues that despite charismatic outsiders dominating the headlines, the real answers lie in the failure of the mainstream to evolve in a world still suffering the fallout of the financial crash in 2008. Exploring factors from globalization and a changing media to rising immigration and stagnant wages, he reveals just why confidence in conventional politics is at an all-time low - and why many voters (wrongly) see mainstream politicians as self-interested and aloof. And what of the outsiders themselves? Analysing their record so far, Richards argues that the reasons for their success also sow the seeds of their eventual demise. If they do gain power, they inevitably become insiders themselves - and fail to live up to their outlandish promises. But with the world increasingly unstable in the meantime, Richards warns that there is an urgent need for conventional politicians to reconnect with voters and for the electorate to engage with the constraints on elected politicians. Intelligent, nuanced and wide-ranging, this is the essential handbook for understanding the chaotic political times in which we live.
- RRP £18.99
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