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Porridge and Passion: An Autobiography Paperback – 1 Mar 2006


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Porridge and Passion: An Autobiography + Pride and Perjury: An Autobiography + Psalms for People Under Pressure
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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Continnuum-3PL; New edition edition (1 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826480683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826480682
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Aitken's earlier volumes of memoirs, Pride and Perjury, which he completed a few days before entering prison, chronicled his fall from grace. It was more muddled in its intent, veering uneasily between abject penitence and furious self-righteousness. Here in this second volume, his state of mind, and therefore the tone of the book, are both clearer." --Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Jonathan Aitken was Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a Tory MP. He has published a number of books including an acclaimed life of Charles Colson, Pride and Perjury as well as two collections of hymns and prayers for Continuum.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Gallagher on 14 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
Although I had a good opinion of Jonathan Aitken as an MP, after his fall I wrote him off as another high flier who had tripped over his own ego. Recently I heard an interview with him and was intrigued by his clear sincerity. Now, having the book, I feel here is a man who paid a huge price for an error, admittedly brought about by pride.

The book is a highly readable account of how Aitken came to terms with his fall from grace. A fall it certainly was. He lost everything; his job as a cabinet minister in with a chance of the top job, a Privy Councellor, he also lost his wealth and influence. Eventually he had to exchange life in his ten bedroom house in Lord North Street, and an illustrious career for a cell at HMP Belmarsh.

His account of prison life is detailed, moving and at times very funny. He is critical of prison management, but appreciative of the work of most prison officers. Clearly he was touched by the plight of many men who appear to be trapped in a cycle of recidivism. He was inspired by those who worked to improve themselves and who could see a hope for the future. Aitken also found strength in his religion, not only for support to see him through the ordeal of prison, but as a foundation for a new life.

I found this book to be informative, entertaining and inspiring
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Weeks on 14 April 2007
Format: Paperback
It is very rare that one comes across non-fiction that is as hard to put down as a good thriller. This is a case where truth is much more gripping than fiction.

After I read Aitken's first autobiographical volume I heard him tell in a local church the story of his imprisonment in the first part of this book. He is a very gifted speaker and writer. You can see why he was a cabinet minister. His life was ruined by one mistake but his is a story of God's grace in adversity. His experience of prison is shocking and spellbinding.Hhe had no extra privelidges due to his former status only extra visitors and extra problems. Was any prisoner ever so mercilessly hounded by the press? No open prison wanted him because of the media interest. At best the press come across as intrusive, at worst downright corrupt in bribing prisoners to set Aitken up. No-one else has had an ex-con break into prison to photograph and interview him.

Throughout all these problems Aitken testifies to God's strengthening grace and a growing faith and knowledge of Christ. Aitken's Christian circles may not be everyone's cup of tea as they include the charismatic and the Catholic but there is no doubt about his own faith and the reality of God at work in and through him.

This is a fascinating portrayal of what it is like to be imprisoned in both a high security and an open prison. By and large, with a few jobsworth officious exceptions, prison officers come out well. Their union does not.

Aitken's battles with his creditors are recorded, his family's support, the help of many friends, his theological studies and subsequent remarriage and budding literary career as well as his shunning by Conservative central office. Here you will find an education in rhyming slang and an encouragement to read more from this most gifted author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By hazel rodgers on 7 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
an excellent read, I took 2 days - I couldn't stop. Jonathan Aitken writes as he speaks which makes for a very easy reading of his account of events in prison and afterwards. No point repeating the synopsis but several stories made me laugh out loud, he manages to see the funny side of some situations. Others make you reach for the hankie, describing the plight of some of our young people unable to read, with no sense of being loved and with a bleak future in front of them. The story is up to date including some events earlier this year (2005) and I intend to buy some of his other books anticipating more good writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darrell Monteith on 11 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book which follows on very directly from where the Pride and Perjury book left off. It is a great record of the time spent in prison and gives an insight into the unbelievably crass stories written in the news media during that period.

British Newspapers editors should read this and be ashamed, Aitken is a giant of a man who has been willing to accept his mistakes and seek God's forgiveness which is after all the only thing that really matters. The book is well written and has led me to go on to get his other books on Charles Colson and Richard Nixon.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Only prejudice would stop a reader interested in political autobiography from giving this one a try. Aitken gives a humorous account of his time in prison and of his subsequent theological training. He isn't afraid to name-drop, but the names range from inmates of HMPs to top politicians. A moving and inspiring read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Neville S. Gay on 11 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
From the first page I had to force myself to put this book down to do things more important. Jonathan Aitkin's description from the moment of sentence to life in prison is graphic, I almost felt that I was with him. He describes how he generates relationships with the hardest of criminals and uses the prison rhyming slang which he learnt, to great effect. Some of the inmates who could neither read nor write found him useful as he provided an invaluable service reading their letters for them and writing replies. He also described the punishment metered out to one inmate as an additional punishment which the others regarded as appropriate for his crime. He writes with feeling and often with humour.

If you enjoy autobiographies then this is a must it is really very well written.
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