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Publisher's Summary

From one of the greatest political journalists of recent times, an insider's account of four decades of covering the British political scene, packed with tales of the biggest political happenings of the last half century.

Philip Webster covered politics for The Times newspaper for 43 years, including 18 years as its political editor. He has been at the centre of all the big stories of the past four decades - the fall of Labour in 1979, the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher, the emergence and fall of John Major, the rise and fall of Tony Blair and his wars with Gordon Brown, the aftermath of 9/11, the war in Iraq, the fall of Brown, the rise and rise of David Cameron and the shock election of Jeremy Corbyn.

Webster offers fresh insight into the great stories of his time. He gives a frank and revelatory insider's account of great political events since Michael Heseltine brandished the Mace, the night the Callaghan government fell, the day Sir Geoffrey Howe brought down Margaret Thatcher, the day Tony Blair said farewell, the night MPs voted for war in Iraq and every Budget and autumn statement for 40 years.

With the wit and geniality that has made him so many friends in politics, he reveals how stories came into his hands and how political journalism influences events as they unfolded. He has witnessed what he terms a golden age of political journalism, and this book offers an intimate account of his trade. The essential handbook for anyone interested by the craft of journalism, Inside Story reviews three decades of lead stories and the many politicians, great and small, he has encountered.

©2016 Philip Webster (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Webster is simply the best - a journalist with a sensational range of stories." (Andrew Marr)
"Philip Webster is a journalist of real intelligence and integrity with an ability to get on with all sides of the political spectrum." (Alastair Campbell)
"One of the greatest political journalists of my lifetime." (Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator)
"A brilliant journalist." (Tony Blair)

What members say

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-08-16

Fascinating insight, after the event, of so much in politics over the last 40 years.

Well observed intrigue. The background stories were really fascinating. I felt that I knew the characters much better after listening to this book.
It a 'long listen' and great for flights and car journeys.
I would recommend it to anyone who want the background to so many political events of the last 40+ years.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen W.
  • 05-02-17

Fascinating

A wonderfully entertaining read, perfectly narrated by the author. Insightful, impartial informative and totally fascinating.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • L
  • 03-29-17

really interesting read & fascinating perspectiv

very enjoyable book and recount of political history of recent decades...some fascinating insights as well

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 02-15-17

Woeful narration.

Interesting book but narration is so monotone that you just want to quit listening and go do something that you'll know is going to hurt.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin Loomes
  • 10-16-17

Decent story spoiled by narrator

What could have been a good listen was made challenging to listen to by the author deciding to narrate his own book. The right narrator can make or break a book - no matter how good the book is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • grant georgiades
  • 01-29-17

Dissappointing

What disappointed you about Inside Story: Politics, Intrigue and Treachery from Thatcher to Brexit?

Despite his incredible access to many of the major political players of the last 40 years the book for the most part remains very much at surface level. Perhaps due to the title I was expecting slightly more insight. The sections on recent events such as Brexit read pretty much as a linear collection of newspaper reports/summaries. The parts covering events further back proved more interesting primarily because they refreshed my memory. Webster's delivery pretty much kills any strong anecdotes he might have had. I listened to it all at 1.25 x and it still felt he needed a sugary doughnut and an expresso to pep him up. His sense of self importance when describing the tension at breaking his John Major and Edwina Curry exclusive was uncomfortable. It was undoubtedly a great story but let's not overlook the fact it really was tantamount to tabloid/celebrity gossip and he was hardly breaking open the Watergate scandal. Also a failure to give his views from inside the Murdoch empire or on the phone hacking scandal seemed a conspicuous omission.

If you’ve listened to books by Philip Webster before, how does this one compare?

N/A

Would you be willing to try another one of Philip Webster’s performances?

No

What character would you cut from Inside Story: Politics, Intrigue and Treachery from Thatcher to Brexit?

A professional orator would have been a sound investment

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Marion
  • 06-25-18

Interesting in parts, terrible narration

Ah the 'dead tree' media, how important it used to be!

Some of the political stories from the past 40 years are fascinating to hear but Mr Webster's talents are obviously for writing, not reading! His turgid delivery renders it all down to the same grey monotone!

Clearly he is a very experienced and knowledgeable chap and entitled to be proud of his contribution, but his ego does intrude somewhat into the narrative and can become grating.

Summary - entertaining for the insightful content, try to ignore the delivery.

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  • MR ALAN SUTHERLAND
  • 04-04-18

A life in political journalism

Phillip Webster does a wonderful job of summarising the great stories of his career in an informative, professional and balanced way. But this is not dull by any means, nor is it gossip. Through his unique journalistic ‘voice’ and the choice of events that he describes, he takes the reader on a journey that is both engaging and illuminating. He manages (somehow often between the lines) to give the reader a sense of how he actually saw the events and perhaps felt about the personalities involved. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in recent politics, as it adds a fascinating, important dimension.

My only criticism is that whilst he often does explore the challenges of maintaining a high standard of ethical journalism whilst also being in close (often friendly) relationships with the politicians involved, I was left wondering about the depth of this self reflection, and his objectivity. In the end I couldn’t quite make up my mind to what extent he might actually have been groomed by some politicians and seduced by his proximity to power - perhaps more than he acknowledged or allowed himself to be aware of.

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  • kirsty
  • 02-15-18

Absolutely fascinating!

If you are interested (even remotely) in politics, journalism or both then this is a must read. We all live in interesting times, but for an account of the past 40 years of interesting times, read/listen to this book!