This long-awaited, revelatory memoir from Britain’s former Prime Minister offers vital insights into our extraordinary times
Former Prime Minister and the country’s 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 successes and failures in power, 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.
“A compelling story, well told … This is an important book that goes far to explain what made this enigmatic, solitary and intensely private man tick … an example of that rare species in Britain: the intellectual in politics … this book reminds us what a moderate politics of the left looks like and how much it can achieve”
Daniel Johnson, Sunday Times
“Miles ahead of anyone you can name currently in office at Westminster. Brown thinks, and thinks profoundly. And by and large, over the last 30 years, what he has thought has turned out to be correct … thrilling … unexpectedly moving”
David Hare, Guardian
“A protagonist of Shakespearian stature … The chapters on the crash are fast, tense and riveting … Like our times, Brown’s life is complicated, contradictory, full of irritations, frustrations and even rage. But as this absorbing memoir makes clear, he is also a man who, in both his willingness and ability to tackle the most pressing questions of our age, towers over those who currently fill the political stage … He is one of the giants of our recent political history – and this book explains why”
Jonathan Freedland, Prospect
“In this fascinating book, Gordon Brown shares the experience and perspective of a lifetime spent in public service. Readers will come away with not just a deeper understanding of British and international politics but also the intellect and integrity of one of today’s great statesmen”
“Gordon Brown is a fiercely passionate Scot who is honest, straightforward and trustworthy. He was a consummate politician, and this is a must-read autobiography”
“I have always believed Gordon Brown to be a decent person who wanted the best for every person in our society regardless of their start in life. This fascinating book demonstrates his measured thinking, intelligence and humanity, which is what I look for in a prime minister”
“After hearing Gordon Brown as Prime Minister speaking to a large international audience on eradicating poverty, a colleague from overseas said to me, ‘I wish we had politicians like that in our country.’ Just at the moment, so do I. This book will show something of the heart and the intelligence of a remarkable, compassionate and dedicated man”
“Very good at describing the process by which an idea for reform is germinated, then shaped into a policy before being executed … He writes very movingly about the death of baby Jennifer Jane … You feel great sympathy and admiration for his tenacity … one of the most formidable chancellors that Britain has ever seen”
Andrew Rawnsley, Observer
“A momentous political career … he was undoubtedly the right person, at the right time, to deal with the financial crash of 2008 .. surprisingly generous towards those with whom he clashed repeatedly during his time in politics … when he was good, he was very good indeed”
George Parker, Financial Times
“Brown will be remembered for the historic calls which he got right. Independence for the Bank of England, holding out against the euro and leading the global response to a frightening banking collapse. Who, among politicians of recent vintage, can make claim to a posterity as good as that?”
Philip Collins, The Times
“This is a formidable book by a formidable man of government”
Vernon Bogdanor, Daily Telegraph
“As one might of expect of someone with Brown’s intellectual gifts, his autobiography is fluently written, and despite his reputation as a brooding and moody politician it is not without humour… Ultimately, this book will go down as a formidable memoir”
Tom Peterkin, Scotland on Sunday
“He will rightly be remembered for his and Alistair Darling’s decisive intervention to prevent Britain’s banks going over a cliff, taking the rest of the UK economy with them… Brown’s overall response to the crisis, and the global leadership he showed throughout, helped save us from a 1930s depression. This book is a timely reminder of this recent history”
Peter Mandelson, Evening Standard