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25 Reviews
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Naked ambition
Why do we have such high expectations of politicians as a class yet such low expectations of the individuals? We enjoy the small change of political scandal – the revelations of unorthodox private lives or unsavoury business practice, while at the same time tuttutting that politicians are just as stupid, venal and corrupt as any of us. Paxman’s book makes an...
Published on 28 Sep 2003 by mc1965

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good fun read, but lacking insight
Well written and engaging but ultimately not as insightful as you might hope. For anyone interested in politics and the political process Paxman's latest is an entertaining source of anecdotes and a useful introduction to the way democratic politics has developed in Britain. Despite this the book always feels a bit limited and falls down on two fronts. Firstly, the...
Published on 4 Nov 2003


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!, 21 Feb 2003
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It is often amusing - though occasionally I found some efforts at amusement not that funny. The best effort at amusement, not one of Paxman's, was the reference to Churchill's quote "buggers can't be choosers" (which I had not heard before).
Anybody picking up this book will most certainly have opinions on the ambition and honesty of politicians. The actions and promises of politicians create their own stereotyping of themselves - if anything this book emphasises this stereotype. There seems to have been politicians of all types occupying the hallowed seats in the House of Commons. Every electorate deserves what it gets - and the British certainly got its fair share of liars and corrupt MPs.
I liked the style of bringing the reader from the aspiring MP seeking election right up through the ranks to Prime Minister.
This book could be written about any democracy - only the names and scandals will change. I'm sure there are rich pickings for aspiring authors to follow Paxman's example here.
It is easy to read and not too demanding on brain power - RECOMMENDED.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Intelligently Observed, 10 April 2010
By 
Andy (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Political Animal: An Anatomy (Paperback)
I once wanted to be a politician (we're talking 25 years ago now). A good friend, who knew both politics and me, said I had no chance: "you're not the type", he told me, dismissively. On the evidence of this book, I was wrong to doubt his opinion and wrong to think the comment was meant as a slight.

This book is an engaging trip through the realities of being a Member of Parliament and / or member of Government. Written in 2002, things have if anything grown worse since then. Every aspiring politician might want to read this.

No solutions are offered to the ever-downward trajectory of politics in the public's esteem. In fact, the weakest chapter is his "afterword", where he opines whether this really matters (it does) and what's to do about it (nothing really).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, but then you would have guessed that, 11 July 2009
By 
Stephen B. Peddie (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Political Animal: An Anatomy (Paperback)
I cannot imagine that anyone will go into this book believing many politicians, if indeed any, are normal in the public's sense of the word and there is nothing here to confound that preconception. The book is slightly overlong and JP's writing style, while worthy, consistently dry and often amusing, can lack precision (contrary to what the excellent and genuinely sharp essayist Mathew Paris says on the cover). Reading it in July 2009 and post the expenses scandal, I do wonder what JP would have had say on the matter and whether pure greed and enrichment is a significant (and normal) motivator after all?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: The Political Animal: An Anatomy (Paperback)
I love this and have lent it to other people to read too who also love it. Have bought others of Paxman's too
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3.0 out of 5 stars politics , people and power, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Political Animal: An Anatomy (Paperback)
it`s not the profoundest work of its kind but paxman succeeds in keeping ones attention and thus whetting an appetite for other more comprehensive works
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, amusing and insightful, 19 Mar 2013
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Not strictly scholarly, but a witty and sympathetic review of our politicians and "worthies" who try to make our political system work sometimes despite itself, and sometimes pathetically.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Politics & Politicians., 23 April 2012
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This review is from: The Political Animal: An Anatomy (Paperback)
A very informative and witty book - politicians are dispatched in print with the withering sarcasm that we see from Jeremy Paxman on television. He points out that we don't live in a liberal democracy as we thought we did - far from it- - individual MPs have little power to comment or influence events. A good holiday read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fave book, 29 Nov 2011
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Bought this for my son who loves politics in any shape or form. Must say this is his favourite book of all time and he has read many.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Paxman at Home, 13 Sep 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Having read most of his books, I looked forward to his volume - no Victorian paintings, royalty, quintessentially English people, fly-fishing - just Paxman at home with politicians.

I don't think he set out to write a scholarly tome on politics and, in this, he succeeded. Full of anecdotes and a general history of our democratic processes, their current state and history, it is relatively light (contingent on reader's normal library) but no less interesting for that.

Readers not familiar with his style and approach may be disappointed, particularly in this field he has made his own, because there are many other books on a similar subject which have been judged better. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who wants a light introduction to what makes politicians tick.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why do we let them run the country?, 29 Oct 2008
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The Political Animal by Jeremy Paxman is a very good book examing politics and politicians. It is well written and very interesting but if you don't like Paxman as an interviewer then the style is probably not for you. It is full of interesting insights and anecdotes but does have serious points to make which is why do we let a group of people we have minimal respect for so much control over our lives and also what actually motivates people to become politicians. The Political Animal is a very good book, which is interesting and opinionated.
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The Political Animal: An Anatomy
The Political Animal: An Anatomy by Jeremy Paxman (Paperback - 6 Sep 2007)
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