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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of My Life, Our Times by Gordon Brown, read by Gordon Kennedy.

As former Prime Minister and our longest-serving Chancellor, Gordon Brown has been a guiding force for Britain and the world over three decades. This is his candid, poignant and deeply relevant story.

In describing his upbringing in Scotland as the son of a minister, the near loss of his eyesight as a student and the death of his daughter within days of her birth, he shares the passionately held principles that have shaped and driven him, reminding us that politics can and should be a calling to serve. Reflecting on the personal and ideological tensions within Labour and its achievements - the minimum wage, tax credits, Bank of England independence and the refinancing of the National Health Service - he describes how to meet the challenge of pursuing a radical agenda within a credible party of government.

He explains how as Chancellor he equipped Britain for a globalised economy while swimming against the neoliberal tide and shows what more must be done to halt rising inequality. In his behind-the-scenes account of the financial crisis and his leading role in saving the world economy from collapse, he addresses the question of who was to blame for the crash and why its causes and consequences still beset us.

From the invasion of Iraq to the tragedy of Afghanistan, from the coalition negotiations of 2010 to the referendums on Scottish independence and Europe, Gordon Brown draws on his unique experiences to explain Britain’s current fractured condition. And by showing us what progressive politics has achieved in recent decades, he inspires us with a vision of what it might yet achieve today.

Riveting, expert and highly personal, this historic memoir is an invaluable insight into our times.

©2017 Gordon Brown (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 12-25-17

Compelling Memoir

I found this book most interesting. The section of the book about his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Tony Blair was the best part of the book. He was the longest serving Chancellor and managed to accomplish many reforms besides saving the UK in the 2008 recession and global financial crisis. He tackled the problem of child poverty and increased the old age pension. He blocked Blair from taking Britain into the Euro. He allowed the Bank of England operational independence. He increased the insurance contribution to the National Health Insurance. Brown also acknowledged his mistakes such as the 10p tax band. He also stated he failed to notice how reckless the banks had become prior to the 2008 crash.

Brown revealed his ugly side when discussing the conflict between himself and Tony Blair. He appeared to primarily blame Blair. In the section about his time as Prime Minister he appeared overwhelmed and unable to cope with crisis after crisis. I admire the fact that he was an idealist and went into politics to help the middle class.

The book is well written. When I read a political memoir, I except the person to present themselves in a possible way. Brown did that. Although in the last part of the book he came across that he was not cut out for the job as Prime Minister, but he was a great Chancellor of the Exchequer. Unlike some politicians he did not analysis his actions either positive or negative. I do appreciate the memoirs where the author is able to do an in-depth analysis of themselves, but I guess that is a fairly rare occurrence. Over all, I enjoyed the book and I learned more about the functioning of the British government. I must do a better job of reading about people in various countries.

Be prepared to spend some time on this book as it is twenty hours long. Gordon Kennedy does a good job narrating the book. Kennedy is a Scottish actor and audiobook narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrea
  • 12-19-17

A vital part of the historical debate

This book is a long overdue account of Gordon Brown's 20 years at the top of the Labour Party. It shows how he stopped Tony Blair moving the party even further to the right but also how he made Britain a fairer country, through tax credits, the minimum wage and investments in public services. It also shows Brown's strengths, mastery of detail, but also his weaknesses, trusting his colleagues and communicating his message. Overall well worth a listen, but I still felt there were many areas which he could have covered which he chose not to, for example relationships with Charlie Whelan and Damien Mcbride.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ravi
  • 04-03-18

Truly Inspiring Book

The best books I have listened to in a very long time and on the strength of doing so will purchase a hard back for reference. As expected a very detailed and straight to the point account of a very serious and committed former Politician. Excellent book which had me gripped from the start. In some ways I had a head start and did not doubt any of Dr Brown’s accounts as they virtually mirror with the things my late brother the MP for Middlesbrough South East Cleveland Dr Ashok Kumar used to tell us. This is not just the going’s on in the party and the front bench but also about characteristics of Gordon Brown as to how misunderstood he’s was and the media after his blood at every opportunity. Haven listened to the audio book it feels good that it’s confirmed lot of what I was told by the author himself. No doubt Dr Gordon Brown will continue to give his all to make the the world a better place. I have no doubt that history will be much kinder to him in years to come.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John McCluskey
  • 02-16-18

History Will Right The Wrongs

If Gordon Brown had read this himself I would have given it 5* but Gordon Kennedy did a fine job.
Most of the time I read memoirs I am disappointed at the reality of people I held in high regard. Even at the beginning of this I was thinking who on earth does he think he is taking my taxes and giving it away. Then it dawned, he is the real deal. A proper socialist looking to give those less fortunate a helping hand and create a fairer, more ethical society. When he takes the blame, he takes it, no but.... and I finished the book admiring him much more than I did and I was a huge admirer already.
History will be kind to Gordon, much more principled than Tony Blair and a clever cookie to boot.
Good insight into that period and the Governments of the day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • francis mooney
  • 03-19-18

great listen

Fantastic book. Far better and more detailed than the booking Tony Blair. Underrated I guess due to his public image.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-18-18

An insight into a great mind

My Life, Our Times provides a fascinating insight into one of the foremost economic minds in modern politics.

A man often dismissed as ineffective, Gordon stands as a giant who tackled the conflicts of our age with precision, clarity and purpose. Yet receives little, to no, recognition for the remarkable achievements he achieved.

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  • sally
  • 01-26-18

Outstanding

This remarkable account serves as a useful reminder of what can be achieved by dedicated intelligent ethical public servants, and it should serve as a warning against the other kind of politicians. Incredible explanation of the avoidance of recession, and the challenge of war amongst many other strategic topics. A talented man.

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  • Dave Donald
  • 11-19-17

"how I saved Britain and the world" by G. Brown

Johann Lamont being pronounced as "Yo-han" was laugh out loud funny. As is Ban Ki-moon being called the secretary-geberal of the UK (rather than EU). But both sit well in this work of fiction and rewrite of history. Brown publicly denied there was any deal over the PM job, yet here he is saying there was. And no mention of why he lied publicly about it. Nor any real engagement with the disastrous PFI deals that are strangling our public services. He calls it 'controversial' then defends it to the hilt. He distances himself from Blair over the Iraq war, despite being one of the biggest champions of it. He condemns neo-liberalism, despite his economic policies exposing Britain to the worst excesses of it. Then he talks about how he had great policies ready to fix Britain, but alas he ran out of time. cos 13 years weren't enough? You'd think he was an under secretary of state, not the second most powerful man in the country most of that time. His real anger goes to the Murdoch press, whom he condemns for not supporting him when he became PM. Yet he had nothing to say about them in 1997 when he and tony were inviting them into number 10 for drinks when they supported new labour. The Murdoch press were just as vicious back then, but since their guns weren't focused on him he was fine with it. Brown is a fantacist, whom I presume is worried about his place in history and his Wikipedia entry. If you have followed politics for the past 20 years then this is a real let down. For every left wing move new labour made 2 right wing moves, to triangulate themselves around the tory vote. It ultimately alienated their core voters, whom they had took for granted. Many parts of Britain hadn't recovered from the last recession before the next hit hard and they realised Blair and Browns Labour didn't actually care about them. The party became toxic, leaving a massive opening for the most right wing tory government in decades. You'll find no meaningful engagement of that here (other than the bland "we failed to get our message across"). My blood was boiling through most of it, and I preferred Brown to Blair by miles. Yet after all this time he still doesn't properly understand what went wrong, which makes me angry. So I'm off to lie down!

5 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • P. M. Goodman
  • 01-03-18

As dull as the man himself

I thought this book would offer some insight into GB which might make me feel more sympathetically towards him. I just found it so uttlerly dull, and the narrator doesn't help.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful