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George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor Paperback – 4 Sep 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing; 2 edition (4 Sep 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849547548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849547543
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

It contains a great deal of fascinating new information --Peter Oborne, Sunday Telegraph

Ganesh's dissection of what has driven the intellectual and political revival of the Tories is forensic and incisive--Anne McElvoy, Mail on Sunday

An insight into one of today's most important politicians --Sunday Express

A pacy, well researched book --The Spectator

Ganesh spills the beans as politely as possible.--Belfast Telegraph

Illuminating. --The Guardian

There is much of interest in this lucid and well researched biography. --Chris Mullin, The Observer

About the Author

JANAN GANESH is political columnist for The Financial Times. He has previously worked as political editor of The Economist. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Janan Ganesh's biography of George Osborne, now out in a slightly expanded paperback edition, has been rightly praised for its style, research and sharp analysis. And yet, and yet... at the end of reading it I still feel a big disjuncture between the the George Osborne in the book and the George Osborne who wants to cut public spending massively further without a penny of tax rises after 2015.

Ganesh is sympathetic to Osborne without ever being sycophantic and unsurprisingly paints a much kinder picture of him that Labour politicians do. That's not the puzzle, however.

The puzzle is that Ganesh's picture is one of an arch-pragmatist, someone who is a centrist who could easily have ended up in New Labour: "The Tory party was, ultimately, a default recourse for a broadly centrist budding politico at a time when Labour was unelectably left-wing. Had Osborne been born a decade later and grown up in the mid-1990s, he might now be a Blairite MP striving to catch Ed Miliband's eye for a frontbench promotion".

Moreover, in Ganesh's account Osborne's initial political experiences confirmed his centrist, pragmatic approach: "In the period between Britain's exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1992 and the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith as Leader of the Opposition in 2003 ... the Tories were a bitterly riven and splenetically detested party... Osborne was there for almost all of this period.... His time as a back-room adviser was an unremittingly brutal education that shaped the politician he became: pugilistic, averse to vote-losing ideology and almost neurotically fixated on public opinion".

Yet look at Osborne's tax and spend plans for a 2015-2020 Conservative government and they seem a long way away from this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By james on 8 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a really good account of the current chancellor. I read this book out of interest and not out of being a big supporter, and it is impressive. The book, whilst of course being in the main about Osborne, sees the author, especially from the second section onwards, managing to give a great overview of the political sphere of elections from '92- '10, lacing Osborne in amongst the various ups and downs and tactical moves. The book shows Osborne as still something on an enigma in his thoughts, tactics and ambitions.
It sounds somewhat sad to categorically state that I thought that a political book about George Osborne was a genuine 'page turner', but that is indeed what it was. The author's style of writing, whilst containing copious words that one often does not see in writing these days [a good thing](I needed to frequently refer to a dictionary lol), keeps the reader engaged, and whilst obviously with a right of the spectrum bias, not overbearingly so.
Wholly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 21 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being an avid watcher of the Sunday Politics show which I really enjoy, it was said that one of the shows political commentators, Janan Ganesh had written a book about George Osbourne. I enjoy listening to what Janan Ganesh has to say and also the way that he says it, so I decided to purchase the book.

The contents of the book was in my view, superb; well researched and 'thought out'. I read quite a lot of books from different genres but this book was the best book that I have read in a very long time.

Apart from being factual, it is the way that Mr Ganesh writes that held my attention. I sincerely hope that this author writes another book soon, his way with words should really NOT be confined to only one book.

So come on Mr Ganesh, write again, soon.

10/10
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles VINE VOICE on 31 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An enjoyable biography of one of the most powerful chaps in Britain, this is a favourable but fair book that's intelligently written and easily digested.

Osbourne comes across well, as incredibly bright, very driven and not unpleasant in his dealings with his staff. The book focuses more on politics and economics than personality, and that suited me just fine. It also serves as a recent history of the Conservative party, and the author makes some salient points.

It's quite unusual (for me, anyway) to read a biography of someone so young and of events that have barely gone. How will history judge Osbourne and Cameron? TBC, as they say. But this is a good, readable book for politicos.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SIMON COOPER on 3 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ganesh's first major book is an excellent account of George Osborne's rapid ascent into one of the most powerful jobs on the planet. It is a must read for followers of current affairs in the UK.

The author's interviews with the Chancellor, his advisors and Cabinet colleagues makes for a compelling - and at times humorous- insiders account of his life to date.

The formative years section is like a case study of how a privileged upbringing and family connections can give someone such a fabulous head start in life. However, this is far from a 'silver spoon' story. The Chancellor's hard work, determination, good judgement and appetite for taking calculated political risks are all articulated as key ingredients in his recipe for his prodigious rise up the political ladder. The author does touch on - but not in as much detail as he could have- the Chancellor's personality traits (and evident self-awareness of) such as his perceived smugness.

Enviably the book focuses on Osborne's response to the financial crisis whilst in Opposition and then in Government. At times this reads as more of a political historical account of the last few years rather than an overly forensic look at Osborne's specific role. Ganesh gently outlines rather than probes the pertinent questions. These include why as Shadow Chancellor he didn't consider the possibility of economic growth falling, why he didn't have a plan for increasing growth when in power or indeed why the Conservatives didn't get a full majority at the polls in 2010.
Much like the biography a young Michael Gove published on Michael Portillo in 1995 the author is, at still only 30, a rising star of the right. This might explain a reluctance to be too harsh on Osborne, who after all, may well challenge for the Leadership of Conservative party toward the end of the decade. This will be dependent on the Austerity Chancellor's economic plan succeeding.
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