Profile for Brian40MK > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Brian40MK
Top Reviewer Ranking: 22,394
Helpful Votes: 65

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Brian40MK

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
pixel
Shirley Williams: The Biography
Shirley Williams: The Biography
by Mark Peel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography on the popular Shirley Williams, 2 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This biography was a sympathetic but uncritical account of the long and eventful life of the popular Shirley Williams, even covering her religious beliefs and activism in the Roman Catholic Church, and looking into the reasons as to why she did not quite have the stomach pushing herself forward to becoming the Labour Party's first female leader, leading to the conclusion that inwardly she did not have the confidence in herself that outwardly she appeared to have.

Reading her time leading up to leaving the Labour Party and setting up the ill fated SDP and her clashes with the leadership were fascinating including why she avoided becoming a candidate for the Warrington byelection as she still harboured standing again in Stevenage.

I recommend this very well written book.


A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine: The Last Diaries
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine: The Last Diaries
by Tony Benn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Benn Diaries, 19 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As always the Benn Diaries are an enjoyable and entertaining read, even though I would recommend anyone to read and buy a copy, be prepared for an emotional rollacoaster of a journey through each page, as the various stages as chronicled by Benn of coping with creeping old age and ill health, is very upsetting including the last chapter covering his hospitalisations and the reasons now why this has meant that he now longer has the strength to keep continuing with his diaries very sad.


Live From Downing Street
Live From Downing Street
by Nick Robinson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Media History of Downing Street, 20 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very interesting account of how the media covered and worked with Downing Street from Robert Walpole to Gordon Brown.

The book covers the relationship that Prime Ministers had with the written media, but also how they adapted and coped adjusting to the broadcast media with some succeeding, and others that never quite got the hang of it.

The interesting parts are the comparisons with the era of deference and the more aggressive line of today's questioning, along with the advent of the 24 hour news media.

The latter chapters deal with the Blair and Brown years from the perspective of Nick Robinson when he was political correspondent for ITV and then the BBC.

A very good read and highly recommended.


Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56
by Anne Applebaum
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disturbing Account of Life Behind the Iron Curtain, 20 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very detailed account on how ordinary citizens lived in Eastern European Countries, through the end of the Second World War and Nazism and then Soviet Invasion, at first welcoming them as liberators but slowly realizing that their freedoms were being eroded bit by bit closing down the media, radio, youth groups, art and culture, replacing them with heavily censured communist versions.

The book covers the new cities created and the communist economy such as the five year plans,and work life, the communist authority songs, marches, schools and summer camps held to inordinate citizens to be good communists and to conform, encouraging workers to accede their quotas with competitions and rewards winners were made famous and held up as good examples to aspire too.

The most difficult and emotional chapters to read were on the arrests, executions, beatings and prison conditions, and the mental toll on citizens who did not agree with communism but felt that they had to conform to keep their families safe.

The last two chapters deal with the uprisings following the death of Stalin and the debates the authorities had on whether to allow more freedoms to keep the protests at bay, the book most covers East Germany, Poland and Hungary.

A very good read and highly recommended.


High tide and after: Memoirs 1945-1960
High tide and after: Memoirs 1945-1960
by Hugh Dalton
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh Daltons Last and Final Volumne of Memoirs, 31 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very interesting read completed just before his death concentrating on his last Cabinet post and the low tide of his political career, and covering from his view point the internal splits of the Bevanite era, and the delight of seeing his protege Hugh Gatiskell becoming leader of the Labour Party, a very good read.


Britain's First Labour Government
Britain's First Labour Government
by Professor John Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read on the First Labour Government, 31 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very detailed account on the beginnings of the Labour movement leading up to the party's first spell as a minority Government relying on the Liberal Party opposition votes.

Although in a short time in Government the book accounts some of the successes such as the Wheatley Housing Act ushering in legislation to build the first Council houses, the book gives a background on the personality of Ministers and their success and failings.

The book also chronicles the unnecessary fall of the Government considering the Liberal opposition were willing to support the Government.

My only criticism is that the book repats itself in most chapters but still a good read.


Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland
Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland
by Jonathan Powell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account behind the scenes of the peace process in Northern Ireland, 31 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A riveting account of the exhausting and frustrating behind the scenes peace progress in Northern Ireland with excellent chapters on the history leading up to this momentous time in the history of Northern Ireland.

Perhaps what makes this account so interesting is that this account is from the perspective of a Civil Servant and not a politician, well worth a read.


Mo Mowlam
Mo Mowlam
by Julia Langdon
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A very through Biography on Mo Mowlam, 31 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mo Mowlam (Hardcover)
Although the book was written a few years before her death and at the point when her Cabinet career had not quite come to an end, it is very well written and through biography not just on her political but personal life too.

Well worth reading alongside her Autobiography, the book conveys not only her lively personality and hard work in becoming and as a popular constituency MP, but her flaws and criticisms by colleagues in the way she sometimes operated and climbed the greasy poll aligning herself with Labour politicians that could progress her career.


Battered Cherub
Battered Cherub
by Joe Gormley
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Gormley President of the NUM Union, 28 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Battered Cherub (Hardcover)
This type of autobiography is all too rare as most are of politican's not union leaders which makes it all the more interesting for reading the politics of the time from a different perspective outside of the Westminster village.

Joe Gormley was the NUM President in the most intersting and challenging of times for the mining industry.

His recollections as a young miner escaping death in the pits on a number of occassions was heartbreaking to read along with his first hand observations of the long hours, injuries, death and diseases afflicted on those most honourable hard working men who were the bedrock of the Labour and Trade Union movement.

He also gives some background on the history and working practises of the mining industry in the 1960's and 1970's and the missed opportunities pre Margaret Thatcher of various Governments in strengthing the coal industry.

It is facinating to read of his realtionships with Prime Ministers Edward Heath (very good and respectful) and Harold Wilson (who he hated with a passion due to his double crossing and wrecking a deal to stop a miners strike for his own political ends.)

Joe Gormley is at pains to explain that his union was not trying to bring the Heath Government down as the popular myth holds, miners wages by then were then way behind over industries, although sexist to read now his statement that he wished to see a time when "All miners can afford a Rolls Royce in the driveway and a mini for the wife to go shopping in" is a very honourable ambition, it is with great sadness that Margaret Thatcher that paid to that.

He also covers his victory just before he retired over Margaret Thatcher for a wage claim in 1981, and observes that he hoped his successor Arthur Scargill would be a good President (the book was written in 1981), but he is not recient in telling of the bullying and underhand tactics that Arthur Scargill and his Marxists supporters waged in opposing everyhing Joe proposed in meetings of the NEC and eventually to win the Presidency of the NUM.

If only Arthur Scargill adopted the methods of working that Joe Gormley applied the 1985 Miners strike might of had a different outcome.


George Wigg
George Wigg
by Lord Wigg
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography of Lord George Wigg, 28 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: George Wigg (Hardcover)
Even though it is written in 1972 it is a very readable style very interesting to read about his early life in poverty with a lazy feckless father that spured him to want to achive a more successful life.

His life in the army and his service in Afganistan is quite poineant considering the recent war, he talks about conditions in the army which translated into his life long passion of fighting for the Labour Party to develop more sensible defence policies highlighting the foilibles of the Macmillian Government and its mistakes and wasteful spending in inadequate nuclear weapons systems.

Although it is interesting to read about his time as Manny Shinwell's PPS and his backbench campaigns the most facisinating chapter is on how he exposed John Profumo and the Christine Keeler affair which brought about his downfall.

It is a shame that his last two chapters as Paymaster General in the Wilson Labour Government were all too brief.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5