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Outside In [Hardcover]

Peter Hain
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 15.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 Jan 2012
Peter Hain s has been an extraordinary life. He has held an array of glittering posts in the British political firmament, from key roles in the Foreign Office and the Department of Trade and Industry, to leadership of the Commons and brokering the 2007 devolution settlement in Northern Ireland. Formerly an outsider he became an insider , as one of the government s most effective ministers. Underpinning Hain s career is a tradition of political campaigning stretches back nearly four decades; the political values he holds today springing directly from the injustices he witnessed when he was growing up, and which drew him into politics in the first place. His journey to become a British Cabinet Minister started on a different continent. Growing up as a child in Pretoria, South Africa, life changed irrevocably when a close family friend was hanged by the apartheid government. Before that the security police had taken his activist parents away in the middle of the night. Later, in Britain, he was sent a letter bomb. As the eldest child, Hain was left to look after his younger brother and two small sisters. Thus began his career as a militant anti-apartheid protester. When his parents were released, the state made the lives of Peter and his family unbearably difficult. Far from the bloated memoirs of a former government insider, this is the story of a courageous, campaigning life that is intrinsically bound up with the destiny of South Africa.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback (23 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849541183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849541183
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'what sets Outside In apart from many of the other post-Blair autobiographies is that it is so much more than a personal justification for being part of a government that got into bed with the most right-wing President in the history of the United States, took us into two unpopular, unsuccessful and largely discredited wars, and handed out billions in no strings loans to the banks. There is a real sense of authenticity in these pages and much of this stems from the fact that, unusually for a politician s autobiography, it is almost certainly written by him.' - Simon Kinnersley, Tribune

Disarmingly understated ... refreshingly honest ... Peter Hain has lived life to the full, which is more than most of our politicians can say. -- John Kampfner, The Observer.

'one of the best, provides a fascinating view of events'-- Choice Magazine

His account of growing up in apartheid South Africa in a family fighting racism and willing to put themselves in the firing line is fascinating... This is a fascinating and personal account by Hain of the campaigns and of the way that the British sporting and conservative establishment (including a series of right-wing judges) tried to stop him. -- Africa Journalism

'readers of the volume will find themselves being offered an interesting fare of frank talk and recent political history' -- The Commonwealth Lawyer

'a man of great courage and conviction... a remarkable and sometimes inspiring read. For this alone, his footprint in history will be much larger than that of most of his more illustrious contemporaries... In the end he won and shamed public opinion into acknowledging the true evil of apartheid... This excellent book charts his rise through the ranks to become the coitus interruptus of the cabinet... there are some cracking anecdotes... a voice worth listening to --Jerry Hayes, Spectator Coffee House

Disarmingly understated ... refreshingly honest ... Peter Hain has lived life to the full, which is more than most of our politicians can say. By John Kampfner, The Observer. --http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/26/peter-hain-outside-in-review

Fascinating themes are covered with wit, candour and insight in this fascinating volume of autobiography, penned throughout in a highly readable, personal writing style which compels the avid reader, now totally hooked, to continue reading on... Highly engrossing volume of political memoirs. --Morgannwg: The Journal of Glamorgan History

About the Author

Peter Hain is the Labour MP for Neath. He has served as Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State for Wales in the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting life, standard autobiography 11 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hain has had an extraordinary life and I found out a lot about him through this book (as you would hope). It's a decent read, though slightly spoiled by his seeming lack of modesty or retrospection. Every event he describes makes him out to be brilliant, even when he clearly wasn't. For example, he talks about backing the Iraq war without seeming to have any doubts about it, despite it now being shown to be a ludicrous political mistake.

It is also very disappointing that he starts off as a fighter, but over time clearly becomes very establishment, to the point that at one time he is campaigning against somebody he personally backs because the Labour party asked him to. Principled? Hardly. But in Hain's world this is merely pragmatism.

Digested read: People keep telling me I'm brilliant. And they're probably right.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An 'all or something' man... 5 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Peter Hain, one-time anti-apartheid campaigner turned Cabinet Minister, here describes his fascinating political life both outside and inside mainstream politics. For more than four decades he has been an active campaigner and politician, during which he was involved in some of the most important events of this period.

Hain starts his account with the story of his early life in South Africa as the son of anti-apartheid campaigners at a time when this was a dangerous thing to be. When his parents eventually felt they could no longer stay in South Africa, the Hain family moved to London where they continued the struggle, with young Peter gradually becoming a major player in the British anti-apartheid movement, leading the Stop the Seventy Tour campaign (the proposed all-white South African cricket team tour of England). During this period, Hain was very much outside mainstream politics and in fact was tried for conspiracy and, rather surreally, for bank robbery - charges he clearly believes were politically motivated. Hence, his description of himself as an 'outsider'.

Having joined the Labour party and working for the Union of Communication Workers, Hain's political career as an 'insider' began with his election to Parliament in 1991. During a lengthy Cabinet career, Hain held a number of positions though never quite the top rank ones. From his own account, Hain was neither a party hack nor involved to any great extent in the in-house political manoeuvring of the Labour Party. Instead, his aim seems always to have been to achieve something substantive in each of his roles - following the mantra 'all or something' rather than 'all or nothing'.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outside In 27 Feb 2012
A readable account of critical period for wales and northern ireland set also in the context of the author's own history in south africa and the anti apartheid movement. Enjoyed the revelations about the reality of life as a minister,dealing with the civil service etc (the Civil Service get a more posiitve presentation here than in pre government writings). The chapters on the foreign office and on NI peace were fascinating in setting out the negotiating tactics. Writes movingly of parents, wife and of the difficulties experienced as a result of the innocent mistake made during leadership campaign. Not great literature (she said sniffily) but definitely worth a read.
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