4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Gives you all the basics,
This review is from: Nick Clegg: The Biography (Hardcover)
First of all, credit is due to Bowers simply for giving us a biography of Nick Clegg. I found it interesting, rewarding and easy to read. For anyone who wants to develop their understanding of contemporary politics, books such as this matter. They take you beyond the superficiality of the daily mass media.
I was also going to say that the book stayed just the right side of hagiography, but that was until I got to the last chapter. I really don't think Nick Clegg needs the syrupy slick of complimentary quotes and praise that emerges here (even the apparent criticisms are a form of back-handed praise for his 'honesty' and 'naivety'). This culminates in the ludicrously silly assertion that "It's also not far-fetched to envisage him embarking on an acting career" if his political career goes pear-shaped. At that point, the author should really have left his desk, gone for a coffee and poked his head out of the window for some fresh air.
The early part of the book is the best. The story of Clegg's family background and early experiences is engagingly told. However, there are two significant things wrong with the book as a whole. Firstly, we get very little sense of what Clegg's liberalism draws on other than his family background and work experience. The chap is well-educated but there is more time devoted to his musical tastes than his political reading and intellectual influences (and, no, I don't think the discussion of Samuel Beckett counts). Secondly, the second half of the book gets too bogged down in the political shenanigans of the last couple of years of Coalition government. In places it even ceases to be a biography at all.
That said, reading it was a profitable experience. I am much better informed on aspects of what makes the current government tick. I also have a good sense of the developmental issues driving the Liberal Democrats at this point in their history. Clegg has become much more three-dimensional, which is surely the point. I have read better political biographies but I have also, most assuredly, read much worse.