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Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else Paperback – 2 Sep 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (2 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781682909
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781682906
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 367,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description



“James Meek’s superb book exposes the perversities, hypocrisies and failures of privatisation. Meek is a writer of fiction as well as a journalist, and it shows: he crafts beautiful and vivid passages that turn what could be a dry subject into a highly readable study.”
– Owen Jones, New Statesman

“James Meek's brilliant book, bracing in its detail and sweeping in its scope, makes clear just how central privatisation is to the story of contemporary Britain: some of it will make you sad, some of it will make you furious, but you are guaranteed to be left feeling that you understand this country much better.”
– John Lanchester, author of Capital and Whoops!

“Do yourself a favour: read Private Island and find out what has really happened in Britain over the past 20 years.”
– John Gray, Guardian

“One activity in which Britain leads the world is privatisation. From Thatcher to Cameron, prime minister after prime minister has flogged off our public assets at rock bottom prices to the private sector. The result has been massive returns for investors and middle men, poorer services for the public – and a downgrading of our entitlements as citizens. All this is detailed by James Meek in a book that stands as one of the most powerful critiques of the mess that is Britain’s economy.”
– Aditya Chakrabortty

“[A] devastating account of the privatisation dogma of the past 25 years... As demolition jobs go, this can hardly be bettered.”
– John Kampfner, Observer

“An energetic and colourfully told polemic against privatisation.”
– Financial Times

“If you have a taste for historical irony & absurdity, you'll love this book.”
– Francis Wheen, Mail on Sunday

“You don’t have to be…excessively sentimental about the public service ethos to find the story Meek tells here genuinely shocking.”
– Jonathan Derbyshire, Prospect

“One of the country’s finest writers.”
– GQ Magazine

“Entertaining, vastly intelligent.”
– New Yorker

“This is the definitive account of how so much has gone and continue to go wrong with Britain’s institutions. Don’t read it all at once – it’s too depressing.”
– Joan Bakewell, New Statesman (Books of the Year)

About the Author

James Meek is a Contributing Editor of the London Review of Books. He is the author of six novels published in the UK, US, France and Germany, including The People s Act of Love, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Ondaatje Prize and Scottish Arts Council Award. We Are Now Beginning Our Descent won the 2008 Le Prince Maurice Prize and The Heart Broke In was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa Prize. In 2004 he was named the Foreign Correspondent of the Year by the British Press Awards and he contributes regularly to the Guardian, New York Times and International Herald Tribune. Website:

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