I recently had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion hosted by John Laird entitled "Finance Fit for the Future". I believe I received the invitation because because I was a sort of banker (now thankfully recovered). Whatever the reason, I'm very glad for the opportunity to hear Lord Laird speak. What a storyteller! He had the assembled guests enthralled and thoroughly entertained. If politics doesn't work out, he should really consider stand-up.
Hoping for more of the same, I ordered a copy of this book and haven't been disappointed. "Political biography" isn't (for me at least) synonymous with "a real page turner". However, this book delivers very interesting histories of a life (John), a country (Ireland), and an ethnic group (Ulster Scots), with great storytelling and witty anecdotes.
As a London teenager in the late 70's/early 80's, The Troubles was hard to understand. All the Republicans seemed to be doing was setting off bombs, whilst the Unionists seemed to be represented by a loud and slightly deranged sounding church minister. Thanks to the excellent writing in this book, this middle-aged version of me feels he has a much better understanding of the issues of Northern Ireland.