Paddy Ashdown’s autobiography was hailed as one of the most readable and exciting political life stories ever written of all – precisely because it was so very much more.
This is the autobiography of an old-fashioned Man of Action, an adventurer, to be compared more readily to Fitzroy Maclean than David Steel. Ashdown’s years as MP for Yeovil and leader of the Liberal Democrats pale alongside his time as a Royal Marine Commando, in the Special Boat squadron, as a spy, on military service in Northern Ireland and Indonesia, and then subsequently – perhaps his finest and most heroic role, as the UN’s High representative in war-torn Bosnia. As one reviewer remarked: “This must be the first political memoir to offer advice on the best way to execute a jungle ambush and on how to treat an open wound using red ants.”
Ashdown’s appeal – which explains this books’s hardback bestseller status – is that he transcends party political allegiances, and is seen as a genuinely honest and decent man unafraid to take on the hardest challenges.