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John Wheatley
John Wheatley
by John Hannan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.34

5.0 out of 5 stars The Life of John Wheatley, 5 April 2014
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This review is from: John Wheatley (Paperback)
I really enjoyed reading about the life of John Wheatley as often he is referred in numerous Labour Biographies as the only success in the Cabinet in the first Labour Government.

Although not a weighty sized book but none the less I found it very informative, the book did not touch much on his personal life but as it was written in 1988 biographies in that era tends not to delve too much into personal relationships and possible peccadilloes unlike modern biographies.

I would highly recommend this book if like me you enjoy reading about Labour Party Cabinet Ministers.


The Irish Diaries (1994-2003): Alastair Campbell
The Irish Diaries (1994-2003): Alastair Campbell
by Kathy Gilfillan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alistair Campbell Diaries Irish Diaries all in one volume, 2 Jan 2014
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The contributing chapters by Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair on the Irish Peace process was very insightful.

Although it was nice to re read the diaries by Alistair Campbell covering the Irish peace process to remind me of that time, but if like me you have read all diary volumes then really there is nothing new in them.


Doctor Who Official Magazine issue 465 (November 2013)
Doctor Who Official Magazine issue 465 (November 2013)

5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special Magazine, 2 Jan 2014
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I loved reading the interview with the five actors that played Doctor Who in the 70's and 80's talking about the latest Big Finish production that they are involved with.

If you are interested in the 50th anniversary then it is well worth a read.


The Second Labour Government: A Reappraisal
The Second Labour Government: A Reappraisal
by John Shepherd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £60.00

5.0 out of 5 stars An account of the second Labour Government, 2 Jan 2014
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I was expecting a general account of the second Labour Government instead each chapter covered various aspects such as policies on agriculture economy etc rather than the personalities and chronological events as they unfolded but that does not take away that the book is well written even though can be disjointed and a tad repetitive when individuals write each chapter but still worth purchasing if like me you are interested.


Shirley Williams: The Biography
Shirley Williams: The Biography
by Mark Peel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography on the popular Shirley Williams, 2 Jan 2014
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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: £13.60

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Benn Diaries, 19 Dec 2013
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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
Price: £15.26

5.0 out of 5 stars A Media History of Downing Street, 20 Nov 2013
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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
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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
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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: £19.26

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
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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.


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