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All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class Hardcover – 3 Nov 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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  • All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class
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  • The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign
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  • The Brexit Club: The Inside Story of the Leave Campaign's Shock Victory
Total price: £42.48
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008215154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008215156
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 5 x 16.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘I can't imagine a more even-handed or better sourced, all points-of-view account of the biggest story in British politics since WWII … A fine book’ ANDREW MARR, Sunday Times

'Shipman's dispatches are a must read if you want to understand what happened beneath the smog and beyond the noise of the conflict’ NICK ROBINSON

‘Shipman is brilliantly qualified to write the inside story of the referendum, with his unrivalled access to all the players’ JOHN RENTOUL

‘For historians this book will be entirely essential … A fine book’ ANDREW MARR, Sunday Times

‘Shipman’s book is by far the best. It is a detailed, often pitch-perfect account that delivers the tale with an infectious sense of human drama – no mean feat, given the task of completing the whole thing so quickly’ JOHN HARRIS, New Statesman

‘The essential account … Shipman has spoken to every key individual to produce the definitive first draft of history, a comprehensive yet impartial study of how Brexit won’ Financial Times

‘Excellent … Shipman convincingly marshals fresh evidence to prove what we already half-knew’ WILL HUTTON, Observer

‘The best political book of the year was undoubtedly Tim Shipman’s masterly ‘All Out War’’ New Statesman

‘Stonkingly good: if you’re vaguely interested in politics buy it. It won’t be bettered’ FRASER NELSON

‘Undoubtedly the British political book of the year’ ALEX MASSIE

‘The definitive account’ Roland White, Books of the Year, Sunday Times

‘A thumping good read … highly recommended’ STEVE BAKER, MP

‘The definitive account’ ANDY WIGMORE, Director of Communications for Leave EU

‘Shipman, one of the most brilliant, best informed and well-connected journalists in Westminster, has written a superlative book which does full justice to a momentous time’ PETER OBORNE

‘Don’t think any of the quotes do justice to quite how good it is. A superb work of reporting and storytelling, and sets new benchmark for the writing of contemporary political history’ ANDREW SPARROW

About the Author

Tim Shipman has been a national newspaper journalist for sixteen years and has a wealth of experience reporting on British and American politics and international relations.
Currently the Political Editor of the Sunday Times, Tim has covered four British General Elections and three American elections from the US. Well known in the Westminster political mix, he is a trusted confidant of politicians from all political parties and has a growing following as a witty observer of the political scene @ShippersUnbound.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Essential reading' is usually a PR intern's lazy copy. Once in a blue moon, however, one is reminded what the phrase actually means. Want to understand the challenges facing the UK in 2017? Well, you really need to see how we got where we are, and to do so, you won't find a better - or more compulsively readable - guide than All Out War.

Tim Shipman has obviously had enviable access, going back for years, to most of the major figures in this narrative. (One senses that Team Corbyn wouldn't play ball, but then the reticence of the World's Worst Wykehamist probably tells its own, faintly rancid story.) And the result is almost unbelievably fair-minded, well-balanced and lucid throughout. Having known a few of the protagonists at some distance, a long time ago, all the portraits ring true. So do the many, many quoted remarks. So does the ambience. There are moments when the whole sweaty, acrimonious, convivial, antic, depressive, basically demented and dementing progress of a full-on political campaign is almost too accurately evoked. But in this case, the campaign made real history, and Shipman is, I am pretty certain, relentlessly accurate about how that history was made.

Some of the protagonists come out of the story better than others. Osborne is a sort of tragic hero. May is the charmless pragmatist. Alan Johnson is a kind of Laocoon, presaging oncoming doom but not able to do an enormous amount about it. Cameron, oddly, comes out of it surprisingly well, if one ignores that fact that the whole thing was his (reactive, tactical) fault in the first place. Gove comes out of it badly, as he deserves to. And as for Boris ... well, read the whole thing yourself, because it's too fascinatingly awful to summarise.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"All Out War" by Tim Shipman, the Political Editor of the Sunday Times (subtitled "The full story of how Brexit sank Britain's political class") is an immensely readable and very well informed account of the campaign leading up the referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. It has been described as "the first draft of history" and I suspect this book will be an essential first source for future historians for as long as there are historians to whom the history of 21st century Britain is of interest.

I strongly recommend this book.

I agonised when writing this review about whether I should compare Shipman's book to the best account of the 2014 Scottish Referendum campaign, Project Fear: How an Unlikely Alliance Left a Kingdom United but a Country Divided by Joe Pike. The reason I nearly decided not to make that comparison is that this book is in a different league: "Project Fear" is merely a very good book but "All out war" is a great one. The reason I did in the end decide to make the comparison is that both are head and shoulders above other accounts published in the immediate aftermath of their respective referenda and both are extremely readable accounts of a very divisive and important referendum based on many interviews with key participants and giving an insider's view. But "All out war" is much more comprehensive, rather more balanced and, although "Project Fear" is very well written, "All out war" is even better.
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Format: Hardcover
Books on the EU Referendum are continuing to be published. Three more are due out by mid January. This one by the Sunday Times Political Editor is a seven hundred page, thirty two chapters account plus appendices and illustrations, pictures and bibliography. It is based on over 80 interviews conducted in the summer of 2016. As you would imagine, the majority of those interviewed are politicians chosen from across the political spectrum. Shipman is a Cambridge graduate in History. He reveals the consequences of the referendum result for friends and colleagues. One was banned from the marital bed, others lost jobs, some got promoted. It was, he says, a civil war, a very bloody one.

The tale of Brexit is enormous. It has consequences that will outlast the lives of all involved in it. Hence, it is crucial it is recorded. We are living through history. There will be many surprises awaiting us. This and other accounts although limited make important contributions to the roller-coaster event

This book gives us a ringside seat on how decisions were made, mistakes justified and betrayals perpetrated.. Stories are mixed with anecdotes and leaks. It is a thriller about how the Prime Minister decided to take a massive gamble and how that leap in the dark failed. Above all, it is an expose of the common folly of repeating what you have done successfully before only to find it doesn't work again.

The result of the referendum surprised Cameron and put his career on the line. A poll that day put the Remainers ten points ahead. Farage had almost conceded defeat by l0 pm . By the early hours of the following day the picture began to change. Turnout required for Remain was lower than needed whereas in Leave's strongholds three million people who never usually voted had turned out.
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