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?
©2016 Tim Shipman (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
"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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I would definitely recommend this book (which I listened to as an audiobook) to anyone interested in how the referendum came to be won and lost. Rupert Farley's narration adds to the sense of atmosphere and he does a good job of getting the 'tone' of the key players.
It is a fascinating 'fly-on-the-wall' account of the mixture of focused ruthlessness and sheer ineptitude that ran through both sides' campaigns and all the political parties.
"Gripping! I'm so sad I've finished it."
Shipman doesn't take sides; everyone involved in the two campaigns were heroes AND villains AND idiots AND geniuses. Except for Jeremy Corbyn, who was simply AWOL.
He really gets a gossip's level of detail about the Tories falling out with each other.
His Boris impression is very good.
It literally made me feel as if UK was going to hell in a handbasket and you can't trust any institutions or individuals arghhhhhhhhhh.
I wish Remain had won :'(
A really good account of recent history that will stand the test of time.
An update in 2 years will add even more weight to what is bound to be regarded as a classic account of the period.
"Great political inside information. Well done"
really enjoyed this. I will definitely listen to it a second time. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a detailed inside analysis of all the political campaigns leading up to the referendum. And the backstabbing after!
"Should be compulsory for all school children."
Amazing depth of information, beautifully segmented both by subject and timeline. An unbiased account that will enrage remoaners and delighted Brexiteers in equal measure. Perhaps in the ratio 52:48
"a must read covers the lot"
great book makes Craig Oliver a lightweight. extremely well narrated. My best book for a long time.
"Fantastic and objective"
A fascinating and seemingly unbiased account of the story behind brexit. An insight onto the inner machinations, intrigue and infighting of both campaigns in the most decisive and divisive political event of our time. Meticulously researched and incredibly well presented.
"Thorough and engaging "
A brilliant and interesting insight in to Brexit. From the time before it was even conceived until the present day (as good as). Gossip level detail gives the book a human dimension which complimented the political procedure very well.
Well worth getting.
"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!
"Full account of the lead up to indepenence day"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't stop listening to it. Very interesting to hear what happened behind the scenes of both camps. Would recommend to anyone interested in the EU Referendum.
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