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Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England [Paperback]

Nick Cohen
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Feb 2009
Do you remember what life was like before the crash?

  • When level-headed couples were still taking mortgages five times their joint income.
  • When the middle class was divided between the haves and the have yachts.
  • When Her Majesty's Government boasted that their 'light-touch regulation' of finance had abolished boom and bust, and laughed hysterically at anyone who disagreed.
By Christmas 2008, eight banks had been part-nationalised, Woolworths had disappeared, unemployment had reached nearly two million and the country's debt had hit record levels. We are now a bankrupt nation.

After the Great Crash of 2008, Americans could at least blame an incompetent right-wing government. But when the money ran out, Britain was ruled by left wingers who had grown up despising the 'funny-money' men. And yet, like the most gullible investors on Wall Street, New Labour prostrated themselves before the snake oil charmers of financial capital.

Since they came to power in 1997, Nick Cohen has been taking the pulse of what has turned out to be the longest period of left-wing government in British history. Over a decade later, he reports from the sickbed of liberal England as battered and broken voters contemplate a remarkable shift. With splendid outrage and great compassion, Waiting for the Etonians, is an account of a country that, for the first time since the end of the Empire, is considering embracing the old ruling class it has despised for decades.

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Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England + You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom + What's Left?: How the Left Lost its Way: How Liberals Lost Their Way
Price For All Three: 26.47

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st Paperback Edition edition (19 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007308922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007308927
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Cohen was born in Stockport in 1961. He was educated at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and Hertford College, Oxford. He began working as a journalist at the Sutton Coldfield News and moved on to the Birmingham Post & Mail, Independent and the Observer, where he has been a columnist since 1996.

He has published two collections of journalism, Cruel Britannia and Waiting for the Etonians. Pretty Straight Guys was a full length book on Britain in the Blair bubble. Two other full length books followed: What's Left? on reactionary strains in left-wing politics, and You Can't Read This Book on 21st century censorship.

Product Description


'Nick Cohen is a scourge of New Labour whose writings are a breath of fresh air in political journalism.' Sunday Telegraph

'Social class put back at the centre of political thought.' Fred Inglis, Independent

'In his assessments of British party politics he is often careful, sharp and persuasive, deftly taking apart the false impressions sometimes left by headlines.' Robert Murphy, Metro

Praise for ‘What’s Left?’:

'A roaring polemic of outrage against the moral and political crisis of the liberal tradition. It is already one of the most discussed current affairs books of the new year…At the very least it forces anyone on the left to think carefully about where their movement has ended up in the modern world.' The Guardian

‘The book is a superbly sustained polemic.' Sunday Times

‘This is a brave, honest and brilliant book. Every page has a provocative insight that makes you want to shake the author's hand or collar him for an argument. Who could ask for more?’ The Observer

‘Exceptional and necessary…Do not feel you have to be a leftist or liberal to read it, because it engages with an argument that it crucial for all of us, and for our time.’ Christopher Hitchens, Sunday Times

'(He writes with) a genuine passion and human sympathy about people who have experienced appalling suffering.' Michael Burleigh, The Evening Standard

‘Undoubtedly controversial and provocative “What’s Left?” is, as its title suggests, a bleakly witty but perhaps dimly hopeful examination of what it means to be liberal in an age where the lines that have been drawn in the sand are in danger of being washed away.’ Waterstones Books Quarterly

‘One of the most powerful denunciations of the manner in which the Left has lost its way…Cohen's is a brave voice.'
Michael Gove, The Spectator

'Nick Cohen explains how contemporary liberals have lost their way with his usual polemical brio.' The Observer

'An essay of wide reference and great brilliance.' John Lloyd, Financial Times

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Nick Cohen is a journalist and commentator for the Observer and Evening Standard. He is also the author of ‘What’s Left?’ – the most important and provocative commentaries on how the Left lost its way.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars waiting for the etonians 23 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I like the drift of this collection of articles but I am uncertain of where the writer is coming from. Obviously from the left but he lacks the self awareness and honesty he demands from others. Supports the invasion of Iraq for humanitarian reasons but does not mention 300000 deaths and the resulting chaos left behind. His reasons for taking his stance are undeclared. I remain a member of the liberal left despite his diatribe against them.
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40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm... 28 April 2009
By Vik77
I generally have a lot of time for Nick Cohen: I'm one of those socialists who is aghast at the way the post 9/11 'left' has lost its moral compass. However, I've just got this book, and the first chapter I turned to was the one on fox-hunting. Even though I know - sadly - he shares his hero Orwell's loathing for sandal wearing vegetarians, it's an issue I'd have thought would still push many of his buttons - a wealthy elite using PR spin and massive media and political influence to remain above the law, even -hilariously - using cultural relativism - a Euston Group bugbear - to bring the likes of The Guardian on side ("we are an oppressed minority group, so our culture must be respected!"). Alas, no -none of this gets a mention! Instead, he swallows the Countryside Alliance line wholesale (pest control? Is that why they have articifial earths? Is that why they caught hares in Norfolk for the Waterloo Cup in Merseyside? Is that why they introduced foxes to Australia? C'mon!). He then goes on to 'argue' that, because someone has defected from an anti-hunt group to a pro, that 'proves' the anti case was bad and the pro is in the right: by that reasoning, George Galloway and a large chunk of the middle-class so-called Left's move from Left to Theocratic Right 'proves' that feminism and gay rights are a mistake! Blimey! It's a chapter so devoid of intelligent analysis, facts or reason, that it makes me wonder about the factual accuracy of chapters where he's discussing something I know less about! Yes, I'll read the rest of the book - but cautiously.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's in a name? 31 Mar 2009
We live in an age in which one of the most odious incarnations of Groupthink prevails in the guise of a sort of pompously irrelevant, ultra-conformist and self-serving progressivism. Cohen is unpopular in some quarters. He's unpopular with the more nauseating school of moral relativists and with people whose point of view is a dismaying collection of second-hand, predictably and consistently irrational off-the-shelf bigoted rants that you can hear being spouted from atop any soapboax in Hyde Park [or, if you like, in a lecture by Germaine Greer or Professor Terence Eagleton] any day of the week. Not that you'd want to subject yourself to a barrage of cant and meaningless twaddle, but that's what's largely on the menu.

Unlike the output of the people who dislike Cohen, Nick's flawless writing is rational, humanist, sane and logical. Moreoever, it provides a vast amount of entertainment. I have lots of books of articles I might have read in the press. Waiting for the Etonians belongs with this small quantity of superior books - Orwell's collected works being an example - and these are the only ones to keep. Who cares if you have read bits and pieces before? The best writing is always worth re-reading. Nick's book is priceless.
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53 of 73 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the cover beware! 30 Jan 2009
I'm bewildered how Nick Cohen and his publishers got away with selling and promoting this book without violating some kind of truthfulness law. Basically it's a reprint of his articles in various papers over the last few years - yet absolutely nowhere on the front cover does it say that, nor did it in the Observer when the first article was published, under the guise of it being 'an extract from the book'. It really does feel like a huge con.

When I got the book home and started reading it I was angry to discover I had been duped - I don't buy books to read recycled articles, many of which I've already read in the Observer.

So buyer beware - this isn't anything other than a bunch of old, sometimes out-of-date, articles reprinted.

The problem with writing short pieces for newspapers is that, sometimes, they're not as crafted as beautifully as they would be for a full-length book. Many of these pieces feel like they've been rushed off to hit a deadline and squeezed down to a specific number of words to fill a predetermined space slot.

Whilst I agree with Nick Cohen on much of what he says (and I never thought I'd say that, but in the light of the global slump that's taken place over the last few months I, like many on the left, am now feeling very foolish and want to re-assess) if he had written the book that he says he has on the cover, I suspect he would have had a much more successful tome on his hands.

I would urge his publishers to get one of their staff to rewrite the copy on the cover, should it go into reprint, to make clear exactly what the hapless buyer is actually getting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope 25 Jan 2013
As a disenchanted Tory, this book (and What's Left)have knocked me out with great truths and revelations that I could sense over the years but have been able to articulate and argue only in the most incomplete way - a tiny voice in a terrible wilderness. The suspension of judgement amongst our Liberal/Left has flowed through everything they have had power over, to my enormous frustration. Now that Nick has given me the key, I feel so vindicated and informed. Testy intellectuals will have no problem in dusting me off but now I know that I was right all along. Nick Cohen is vital to us all!
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