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Whatever your political leanings this autobiography is an important record of the political landscape of a large swathe of the 20th century, described with verve by someone who was there and contributed to the political history of the UK at home and abroad.
Unlike many other autobiographies he devoted quite a bit of the book to his childhood and early manhood in the belief that coming from a more humble background underscored his political convictions. He was firmly in the more moderate ‘One Nation’ wing of the Conservative party and this coloured his more conciliatory attitude to the trade unions. It is thus ironic that when PM he was unlucky to be up against trade unions with activists out to bring down the government.
Heath’s political career covered over 50 years and was filled with success and some failures. Disappointingly for him, the problems he encountered during his brief premiership over-shadowed the achievements. I leave this book with a greater respect for Heath and admiration for his sheer stamina in coping with the pressure of office and his service to his country well into old age. His rather stiff persona as PM contrasts with the descriptions of his evident enjoyment of life socialising with his many friends and pursuing his love of music and sailing.
I found this a very interesting, well-written and informative book that reminded me of many events that I lived through. It is such a pity that the narration is so poor: probably the worst narrator I’ve ever listened to. He peppered the book with mis-pronunciations of common words, inserts pauses at weird places, puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable and sometimes sounded like someone learning to read. The names of well-known politicians are repeatedly mangled displaying surprising ignorance. I can’t understand how the producer or editor of this recording allowed such howlers to escape notice. His incompetence partly spoiled an otherwise first class book.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
The book is great... Heath is sometimes overlooked, but he was a far more liberal Tory than Thatcher and his story is fascinating. The one downside of this book is that it appears to be read by an American using an English accent. Mostly the performance is fine, but he continually pronounces British names and places incorrectly, which is distracting. Surely the producer should have checked this?
I found this interesting because Heath was active in politics around the time I was born and was working his way in the parliamentary system while I was growing up and unaware of what a very hard worker he was . actually was not much interested in what was going on until Kennedy was shot. He came from blue collar stock and had to work incredibly hard to get to university and then find employment until he was elected to parliament.
His inability to control industrial unrest forced him out of 10 Downing St. He was much more valuable to the conservatives while he was an MP and Chief whip. He was disappointing as a PM and I think he never got over the failure.
This autobiography gives a vivid account of how parliament worked behind the scenes post war, during Suez and during Britain's fight to join the common market. He was reserved about his private life and he doesn't shed much light on it in his book apart from his abiding love of music, about which he knew a great deal.Who knew this man loved fast cars and taking the faithful party workers on pub crawls, . The narrator made some unforgivable pronunciation errors and chopped up some sentences. If you are interested in parliamentary history 1950-70 then you will enjoy this.