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Brown's Britain [Hardcover]

Robert Peston
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Jan 2005
When Gordon Brown reluctantly stepped aside in the race for the Labour leadership in 1994, he entered into a fragile, turbulent but hugely successful political marriage. In return for the keys to Number 10, Tony Blair was forced to cede almost complete control over the domestic agenda to his Chancellor. In Brown's Britain, award-winning journalist Robert Peston explains for the first time the REAL nature of the relationship between Blair and Brown. With the ease of a born storyteller, he gives the first truly authoritative account of the extraordinary deal they did back in 1994, and reveals the amazing details of the events of the past year, when Blair offered to stand down in favour of Brown and then summarily withdrew the offer. This book, for which Peston was granted unprecedented access to the Chancellor and his friends and colleagues, draws back the veil on the brooding man who has been Britain's longest serving and arguably most powerful Chancellor in more than 100 years. Filled with telling quotes and unexpected insights, it takes you right to the heart of the secret power games that go on behind the gates of Downing Street, and looks ahead at what Brown would do if he were to become Prime Minister in name as well as deed.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd; First Edition edition (20 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904095674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904095675
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.4 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Peston is the BBC's Business Editor. Prior to joining the BBC, he was Political Editor and Financial Editor of the Financial Times, City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a columnist for the New Statesman and Sunday Times (inter alia). He has won numerous awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year and Scoop of the Year (twice) from the Royal Television Society, Performer of the Year from the Broadcasting Press Guild, Broadcaster of the Year and Journalist of the Year from the Wincott Foundation and Business Journalist of the Year from the London Press Club. Peston has published two critically acclaimed books, WHO RUNS BRITAIN?, his best-selling account of who is to blame for the economic and financial crisis of 2007-9, and BROWN'S BRITAIN, a biography of Gordon Brown and analysis of the New Labour government. His prize-winning blog, which has more than 800,000 readers, can be found at He is the founder of Speakers for Schools (, a pro bono educational service which organises free talks from inspirational speakers for students at state schools. He is a trustee of the Education and Employers Taskforce. He is married to the writer Siân Busby. You can follow Robert on twitter at

Product Description


Brown’s Britain by Robert Peston may be taken as an authoritative explanation of Brown’s quarrel with the prime minister. -- Guardian, January 10, 2005

Of the various biographies already published of the Chancellor this is easily the most revealing -- Anthony Howard, Sunday Telegraph, January 23, 2005

Of the various biographies already published of the Chancellor this is easily the most revealing. -- Anthony Howard, Sunday Telegraph, January 23, 2005

Peston has written a book which everyone interested in serious politics - the politics of ideas - should read. -- Roy Hattersley, the Observer, January 23, 2005

Peston is at his best discussing the policy debates and new approaches of the Brown era. -- Peter Riddell, The Times, January 22, 2005

The feuding has culminated in an authoritative book by journalist Robert Peston. It is a startling story. -- John Kampfner, The Express, January 10

About the Author

Robert Peston is editor of the Sunday Telegraph's Business and Money sections. He was political editor at the Financial Times from 1995 to 2000 where he won the "What the Paper's Say Award" for investigative journalism. He lives in London with his wife, Sian Busby, the writer and filmmaker. They have two sons, Simon and Max.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brown's Britain.....Tony's Way 15 April 2005
This book was a real eye opener. Being a strong conservative i wanted to read what was going on with the hype over Brown and Blair. The entire book tells the reader what all pro tories and many doubting labourites know that Blair and Brown really shouldn't be best pals.
Good read for many keen politicans. This should be renamed the handbook for backstabbers !!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Gordon Brown is portrayed here with some degree of admiration, both for what he has achieved as Chancellor since 1997 and for his undoubted and strongly-held ideological underpinnings (one of the many similarities with Thatcher that Peston brings to our attention). This is well-written, highly journalistic book, packed full of detail, anecdote and who allegedly said what to whom, why and when in the corridors of power in Westminster. However, it's not all about recurring personality clashes and murky insider machinations. There are cogent evaluations of Brown's role in Labour Party politics pre-1997, his expansive role in social and economic policy-making as Chancellor, and good summaries of the effectiveness of his flagship policies, plus much that is useful on the changing internal machinery of the Treasury. The fraught and sometimes embittered relations between the Treasury and No. 10 are a recurrent and enjoyable theme here. Peston effectively conveys the importance of certain members of Brown's political clique, espcially Ed Balls, with latter coming across - again, with no little admiration - as the animating genius of much that Brown and the Labour government have done on macro-economic policy since assuming office. The most insightful and interesting pages are reserved for Labour's internal politics surrounding the UK's potential entry to the Euro, which is covered in two excellent chapters; much light is shed on the differences and divisions between Brown and Blair on this issue.

Overall, then, an often fascinating book, both informative and enjoyable - the author has much to say about both the man (Brown) and the machine (the Treasury) that he has dominated for nearly a decade.
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15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars incisive and important 19 Jan 2005
By A Customer
This book transcends all the recent media hype. It is actually a very serious analysis of New Labour, which looks beneath all the spin and gloss and asks what has actually been achieved since 1997. It is written by someone who clearly not only understands the politics and the economics, but also knows the personalities involved and really understands what makes them tick. Although some of the analysis of fiscal policy was at time rather complex, I found the book to be mostly very readable. An interesting, incisive and important exploration of the recent history of Britain, which poses some interesting questions about the next election and beyond.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Brown Deserves Better 31 Jan 2008
By koink
This is a rambling, badly organized and poorly written book.
Peston needs a good editor. The editor's first task should be to remove the brackets keys from Peston's typewriter. Then she should remove the dash key. This might help to remove the author's constant temptation to insert long, irrelevant parenthetical remarks that do little more than distract the reader.
Then she should carve up the countless long, rambling sentences and throw out all the quotations that simply repeat what Peston himself has already said.
Better still, she should include a note at the beginning of the book saying, unless you are a masochist, don't bother with this awful tome; read Anthony Seldon's "Blair Unbound" instead.
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9 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a hagiography 28 Mar 2005
I read somewhere that peston's biography had been dictated by one of gordon brown's aides. True or not this book is much more a hagiography than a balanced assessment of brown's career. As chancellor brown has been an effective politician. But he has damaged himself and the government by his obsessive pursuit of the top job, a point peston glides over. If we are to believe this account he also wants to return the country to the bad old days when the unions ran monolithic public services. peston's account has some interesting insights but no real balance.
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