The autobiography of Jack Straw - an MP for 33 years and at the heart of government throughout the longest-serving Labour administration in history.
As a small boy in Epping Forest, Jack Straw could never have imagined that one day he would become Britain's Lord Chancellor. As one of five children of divorced parents, he was bright enough to get a scholarship to a direct-grant school, but spent his holidays as a plumbers' mate for his uncles to bring in some much-needed extra income. Yet he spent 13 years and 11 days in government, including long and influential spells as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
This is the story of how he got there. His memoirs offer a unique insight into the complex, sometimes self-serving but always fascinating world of British politics and reveals the toll that high office takes, but, more importantly, the enormous satisfaction and extraordinary privilege of serving both your constituents and your country. Straw’s has been a very public life, but he reveals the private face, too, and offers listeners a vivid and authoritative insight into the Blair/Brown era and, indeed, the last 40 years of British politics.
”Straw has an ear for anecdote and quotation, and is honest about his difficult early life; self-justifying, but also self-aware about his record, including as Foreign Secretary during the Iraq war” (Books of the Year, Independent on Sunday)
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An interesting inside view
I never been much of a fan of autobiographies and am fairly agnostic about Jack Short, but I bought this after hearing a podcast where he discussed his experience in office. I found the book incredibly interesting and well read. I particularly liked the opportunity to hear the reasoning behind a number of his and Labour's key decisions. Unlike many autobiographies this doesn't provide endless detail on events that were only likely to be of interest to you if you were there and I must confess it's the only autobiography I've actually made it to the end of! I would definitely recommend this audiobook.
Fascinating insight into recent history