As David Cameron's director of politics and communications, Craig Oliver was in the room at every key moment during the EU referendum - the biggest political event in the UK since World War II.
Craig Oliver worked with all the players, including David Cameron, George Osbourne, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Theresa May and Peter Mandelson.
Unleashing Demons is based on his extensive notes, detailing everything from the decision to call a referendum to the subsequent civil war in the Conservative Party and the aftermath of the shocking result. This is raw history at its very best, packed with enthralling detail and colourful anecdotes from behind the closed doors of the campaign that changed British history.
"Utterly fascinating.... I suspect that every historian of the period will regard it as indispensable to appreciating this extraordinary phase in our history." (John Simpson)
"The compelling insider's account of the man who was at the centre of the Downing Street web." (Nick Robinson)
"This is one of the most vivid, frank and exciting inside accounts to have been written for years." (Anthony Seldon)
"A gripping fly-on-the-wall account of the frenzy in Downing Street during the EU campaign." (Robert Peston)
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A partisan attempt to refight the battles
I don't think I would choose another book by this author. The narration was rushed and breathy, but the main issue was that this was a clearly partisan attempt to re-spin an already lost debate. I appreciate that Mr Oliver is a spin doctor by profession, and I have read a lot of political autobiographies that attempt the same thing - but this a particularly egregious and transparent example.
Be more objective. His treatment of the facts was far too heavily skewed by his own position on the issues.
Amateurish, rushed, breathy
I got to the end of it!
Its a shame that the country has been denied a more balanced and less partisan view of the referendum campaign. I appreciate that it was a race to publish, but it would be interesting to see if he would have written it differently after 5 years has elapsed.
- Williams and Company R Stafford
A self-serving therapeutic memoir that disappoints
The narration was fine.
Taken time to reflect and leave his bubble before putting his thoughts down on paper.
The narration was fine.
I was a head says remain, heart says leave voter so I hope that this comes across as a balanced review. I found that the book focused on peddling the same rhetoric ad nauseam, the reason that leave won was clearly due to a failed campaign by Cameron et al with Craig playing a big part in this failure. The writing feels like a medicinal piece to try and convince himself that there was nothing more they could have done when deep down even Craig must realise that with the resources and support they received a better campaign would have sailed to victory at a canter.
The book also re-affirms how thick the bubble that 'they' live in really is. There are several instances which demonstrate this; the most poignant being an explanation of the campaigns response to the allegations that David Cameron received a gift of £200,000 from his mother in order to avoid inheritance tax. Craig acts utterly bemused that they offered a dubious excuse and it wasn't readily gobbled up by the media/public. This contempt and lack of respect for the public is exactly why a more schismatic form of politics is taking hold, I hope that changes are made soon before it is too late.