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  • Published: 2 December 2023
  • ISBN: 9780753560358
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $36.99

How They Broke Britain

The Instant Sunday Times Bestseller

James O'Brien - prize-winning, bestselling author, radio and podcast sensation, twitter phenomenon - returns with a major political book about the dark forces and figures who have broken Britain.

'An exceptional broadcaster' - Guardian | 'Consistently, forensically, brilliant' - Emily Maitlis

Something has gone really wrong in Britain.

Our economy has tanked, our freedoms are shrinking, and social divisions are growing. Our politicians seem most interested in their own careers, and much of the media only make things worse. We are living in a country almost unrecognisable from the one that existed a decade ago. But whose fault is it really? Who broke Britain and how did they do it?

Bold and incisive as ever, James O'Brien reveals the shady network of influence that has created a broken Britain of strikes, shortages and scandals. He maps the web connecting dark think tanks to Downing Street, the journalists involved in selling it to the public and the media bosses pushing their own agendas. Over ten chapters, each focusing on a particular person complicit in the downfall, James O'Brien reveals how a select few have conspired - sometimes by incompetence, sometimes by design - to bring Britain to its knees.

  • Published: 2 December 2023
  • ISBN: 9780753560358
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

James O'Brien

James O'Brien is a writer and radio broadcaster. His journalism has appeared everywhere from the TLS to the Daily Mirror. He has presented BBC Two’s Newsnight and his own daytime talk show O’Brien on ITV. His daily current affairs phone-in show on LBC has 1.2 million weekly listeners. His last book, How to be Right, was a Sunday Times Bestseller.

Also by James O'Brien

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Praise for How They Broke Britain

A damning account of how the country ended up in the current mess . . . O’Brien’s scathing voice provides a thorough record of the self-serving actions and pronouncements of those who have held power in Britain

Tim Jonze, Guardian

O'Brien's new book confirms that not only are our politicians and their backers as corrupt and incompetent as you suspected they were, it's actually worse than that. And it's packed full of facts about Brexit, Think Tanks and Tory sleaze that will help you win argument after argument with your irritating relatives

Stewart Lee

The most important political book of the year and a fascinating must-read for anyone who cares about Britain. Eye-opening, jaw-dropping, heart-breaking

Carol Vorderman

A compelling, thought-provoking and illuminating read. O’Brien doesn’t hold any punches . . . It is a book that will make you gasp in shock, shake your head in bewilderment and wonder how any of this was allowed to take place in 21st-century Britain


[A] brilliant exposé of those who deliberately turned a once admired country into an economically poorer, lamentable parody of its former self: the Brexiteer neoliberal right, their Tory MPs, journalists and think tanks who inflicted such massive self-harm

Peter Hain


Jon Sopel

How They Broke Britain made me so angry I had to stop listening to it while driving. Superb work

The Secret Barrister

Intelligent, forensic, devastating and shocking – How They broke Britain is as terrifying as it is brilliant

Peter Stefanovic

It’s essential. It should make you angry. Fuming

Adam Rutherford

O'Brien is a punchy and compelling writer. The book is fluent, engaging and thoroughly researched . . . O'Brien eviscerates all of his targets

Times Literary Supplement