All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class

  • by Tim Shipman
  • Narrated by Rupert Farley
  • 32 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Politics was turned upside down during 2016. This book by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman is the first to tell the full story of how and why Britain voted to leave the European Union and how the vote shattered the political status quo.
Based on unrivalled access to all the key politicians and their advisors - including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, George Osborne, Nigel Farage and Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of Vote Leave - Shipman has written a political history that reads like a thriller and offers a gripping day-by-day account of what really happened behind the scenes in Downing Street, both Leave campaigns, the Labour Party, Ukip and Britain Stronger in Europe.
Shipman gives his listeners a ringside seat on how decisions were made, mistakes justified and betrayals perpetrated. Filled with stories, anecdotes and juicy leaks, the audiobook does not seek to address the rights and wrongs of Brexit but to explore how and why David Cameron chose to take the biggest political gamble of his life and explain why he lost.
This is a story of calculation, attempted coups, individuals torn between principles and loyalty. All the events are here - from David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum through to the campaign itself, his resignation as prime minister, the betrayals and rivalries that occurred during the race to find his successor and the arrival of Theresa May in Downing Street as Britain's second female prime minister.
All Out War is an audiobook about leaders and their closest aides, the decisions they make and how and why they make them as well as how they feel when they turn out to be wrong. It is about men who make decisions that are intellectually consistent and - by their own measure - morally sound that are simultaneously disastrous for themselves and those closest to them. It is about how doing what you know has worked before doesn't always work again. Most of all it is about asking the question: how far are you prepared to go to win?

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What the Critics Say

"Tim Shipman's dispatches from the political frontline are a must read if you want to understand what happened beneath the smog and beyond the noise of the conflict." (Nick Robinson)
"Tim Shipman is brilliantly qualified to write the inside story of the referendum, with his unrivalled access to all the players." (John Rentoul)
"Britain underwent a political revolution last summer. Tim 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 in a national history." (Peter Osborne)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Magnificent blow by blow account

This remarkable - and very long - book reads like distant history, It is hard to believe that (at time of writing) the referendum was only 8 months ago, but this superb account manages to humanize most of the key participants - particularly Cameron, Osborne, Gove and Johnson, while bringing to the fore many of the support players, particularly Dominic Cummings. Johnson comes across as a pretty sympathetic figure, Nigel Farage, on the other hand, doesn't.

Tim Shipman's book manages impartiality by only expressing opinions through the mouths of the participants he interviews. Sometimes these are named - like Farage or Arron Banks - more often they are " a source close to Gove" (for example). He only expresses opinions himself to drill down into situations where accounts differ - amazing considering he was writing just weeks after these events took place.

There does seem to be a little bias - though it is buried deep, and may simply be down to contrasting natures of the two campaigns. The characters in both main Leave campaigns, for instance, come across as much more colourful than those in the worthy but duller Remain camp, but that may just be because they probably were. The otherwise-admirable multitude of options that pervade the book seem to go missing when considering the somewhat lackluster Labour Campaign and Corbyn's remarkable effect at galvanizing new party members is dismissed, suggesting (without comment) that they are mainly leftist nutters.

So, if you want a quick and/or biased (one way or the other) account, then look elsewhere. If you want a riveting, beautifully written (and read) day by day historical account of what happened to who and when, then you will enjoy this. Shipman does examine the reasons that Leave won - and offers plenty of often contradictory opinions from his sources - but never reaches a definitive conclusion. After all, he'd have to interview tens of millions of people to do that, and that's probably a bit much, even for him!
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- Mr SA Lambe

Blow by Blow account

I didn't realise until I had downloaded it that this book is 32 hours long. I was actually looking for a rollicking journalist's inside summary of the to's and fro's, but this really was more detail than a normal person needs to know about the Brexit campaign. It is interesting to review the arguments now, with the benefit of hindsight, and Tim Shipman does a pretty good job of staying objective (he doesn't seems to take sides much). It is interesting (maybe depressing) to see how much marketing and comms have taken over from actual political debate.
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- Judy Corstjens

Book Details

  • Release Date: 24-11-2016
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited