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Publisher's Summary

Ken Clarke needs no introduction. One of the genuine 'Big Beasts' of the political scene, during his 46 years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire he has been at the very heart of government under three prime ministers. He is a political obsessive with a personal hinterland, as well known as a Tory Wet with Europhile views as for his love of cricket, Nottingham Forest Football Club and jazz.

In Kind of Blue, Clarke charts his remarkable progress from working-class scholarship boy in Nottinghamshire to high political office and the upper echelons of both his party and of government. But Clarke is not a straightforward Conservative politician. His position on the left of the party, often led Margaret Thatcher to question his true blue credentials and his passionate commitment to the European project, has led many fellow Conservatives to regard him with suspicion - and cost him the leadership on no less than three occasions.

Clarke has had a ringside seat in British politics for four decades, and his trenchant observations and candid account of life both in and out of government will enthrall listeners of all political persuasions. Vivid, witty and forthright, and taking its title not only from his politics but from his beloved Miles Davis, Kind of Blue is political memoir at its very best.

©2016 Ken Clarke (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio

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Profile Image for Ms Del
  • Ms Del
  • 11-08-16

True Blue

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I already have! Ken Clarke's narration adds to the insight of his experiences across many years in parliament. Although I don't always agree with him politically, I felt a better understanding of the reasoning behind some decisions. Brexit makes this even more relevant.

What did you like best about this story?

How different ministries work and the trade unions associated with them. How politics and politicians roles have changed, also the rise of the right/media changes.

What does Ken Clarke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I like his voice, but also he's able to stress things that's made it seem more personal. I can understand why he'd make a good companion.

Any additional comments?

Puts context into the actions of some post Brexit and yet despite it being a book about government in the main, I found it a very easy and enjoyable listen.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • mcgillm
  • 11-16-17

An intriguing listen

Very much enjoyed listening to one of the great political actors of the past 40 years, someone with genuine experience and am very pleased Ken narrated his own book. The book itself had touching moments, while the heavy detail of policy was left out there were some dry segments but it was an all round positive account of his life and time in public office. On occasion felt left wanting more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David laird
  • 09-17-17

Good company

Ken Clarke kept me company whist walking Hadrian's wall. His personal style and open reflections gave me insight into the political landscape of recent years. He has width & breadth of government experience that few can match and his politics of principle come across. I shall now read the book! But shall continue to hear his voice - am glad that he read his own story. Strongly recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Craig J
  • Craig J
  • 08-07-17

A great listen

An excellent listen, full of interesting anecdotes. I'd have liked more analysis of 1997-2010. His aloofness is one of his best features, and no doubt helps explain his longevity in politics, but more thorough description of the events of the time would have been interesting.
All the same, a joy to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • H Newsam
  • 07-16-17

Fascinating book

A reminder of what a mess the UK was in back in the 1970's and what the Tories did for good and bad. Ken Clarke is one of the best of them and he give a clear insight into his beliefs and views. This should be a companion piece to Nick Clegg's, Craig Oliver's book on Brexit and the commentator Owen Jones Chavs and The Establishment for anyone trying to make sense to today's politics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Ewen
  • 04-21-17

A genuinely riveting listen

If you could sum up Kind of Blue in three words, what would they be?

Insightful; Self-assured; candid.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Kind of Blue?

The most obvious answer would be Ken Clarke's insights in to the Thatcher government which is transparent and incredibly interesting but actually it is the explanation of how the New Labour era and David Cameron's government actually functioned from someone who is from an era of conviction rather than populist politics which I found most gripping. An exceptional career, even if there aspects of his politics that I do not wholeheartedly subscribe to.

What about Ken Clarke’s performance did you like?

He describes in his foreword that this book is the result of a team effort; the labours of extremely good editing based on his late night dictations made whilst he supped on a brandy and smoked a cigar (or two). His performance is reflective of this creative genesis. it is personal, informal, and typical of his rather relaxed 'hush-puppy" style. It almost feels as though you could be sitting opposite him, listening to his "garrulous" meanderings whilst sitting in a chesterfield chair in a smoke filled room. A really nice listen.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

His obvious love and aching for his departed companion and wife cannot fail to move. Especially so when it comes to the loss of his other passion, the loss of the UK's membership of the EU. The first I deeply sympathised with, the second I deeply empathised with.

Any additional comments?

The fact is that Ken Clarke is the hero of his own story. I am a person who only really became politically aware after the '97 New Labour landslide and so, the idea of what a conviction politician actually is, is quite alien to me. To listen to an individual such as Ken Clarke describe his deeply held and unwavering opinions with such intelligence and resounding certainty is remarkably refreshing. The complete absence of any form of self-doubt, any reflective (and navel gazing) questioning around the validity of his convictions are very far removed from my very generation Y sensibilities. I guess they just don't make them like him any more... Shame, really.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Khubchands
  • 04-11-18

Very enjoyable well read biography - recommended

Loved every minute of it! Nostalgic journey and description of an enviable political career that ends with a wonderful cliffhanger -Brexit!

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Profile Image for Mrs.Noelle
  • Mrs.Noelle
  • 02-01-18

Most enlightening

The author comes across a as a most straight forward , honest and intelligent politician . Would that there were more like him.!A great read for anyone with any interest in British politics.

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Profile Image for P. M. Goodman
  • P. M. Goodman
  • 01-03-18

Very engaging if a bit long

My main complaint is the sheer length of this. However Clarke is very interesting. He spins a good yarn and I respect that he narrates it himself. I always think it is better if an autobiography is self-narrated. Definitely recommended to those interested in politics - particularly centrist politics.

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Profile Image for David Hutchinson
  • David Hutchinson
  • 01-03-18

A quality story told with wit

What made the experience of listening to Kind of Blue the most enjoyable?

The lighthearted feel of Clarke as he recalls his time in politics and the funny stories scattered all around.

What did you like best about this story?

It was interesting.