Tag Archives: Political Biography

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hard Choices‘Hard Choices’ is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s account of the challenges she faced as America’s 67th Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013 during Barack Obama’s first term as President of the United States. Covering major world events including the global financial crisis, the Arab Spring, wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East and the continuing global challenges of climate change and poverty, ‘Hard Choices’ charts Clinton’s first-hand experience of foreign affairs and outlines her approach to diplomacy based on “smart power” using a combination of “hard power” in the form of actions and “soft power” through discussions. Continue reading

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Books I Thought I Would Struggle With But Didn’t

Generally, I avoid picking up books which I don’t think I will enjoy.  However, that doesn’t mean I always have super high expectations for everything I read. Here is my list of books I initially thought I would struggle with but actually liked a lot.

Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

I wasn’t sure if I would like a book as ‘philosophical’ as this one but I did.  It’s still a pretty weird book and might be viewed as pretentious, but as I said in my review, it’s a very readable sort of pretentiousness. Continue reading

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The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick

I hardly ever read two books or more at the same time but with ‘The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama’ by David Remnick I had to make an exception.  It is a beast of a book and I would never have finished it if I hadn’t been reading some fiction alongside it over the last few weeks.  As I mentioned in my post about political biographies, almost all books about political figures are extremely weighty tomes which are crammed with more detail than you will ever need to know.  ‘The Bridge’ is no different but even though it definitely isn’t aimed at the casual reader, it is still a highly readable account of Barack Obama’s truly extraordinary life and path to the White House. Continue reading

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Thoughts About Political Biographies

My Political Bookshelf

The Politics section in most bookshops is often an odd one.  I think there are two explanations for this.  Firstly, it is because books about current affairs usually go out of date very quickly – politics changes pretty much everyday and a lot of books about ongoing events can end up in a bargain bin faster than you can say ‘Yes, we can’.  Secondly, I think it is because politics tends to overlap with so many other subjects like history, sociology, economics and biographies.  In your average Waterstone’s shop, the Politics section will typically consist of a slew of memoirs and biographies of New Labour era politicians, a couple of AS Level Government and Politics textbooks, some books which claim to explain the origins of the credit crunch/globalisation/some other trendy political buzzword in layman’s terms and maybe a few George W. Bush-bashing books.  Overall, it isn’t particularly inspiring and doesn’t really reflect the diversity of the subject especially when there is so much quality political journalism out there.  It also demonstrates how books have become sidelined, as far as politics is concerned, in favour of more modern media which can be updated instantly. A 140 character tweet is likely to reach and influence millions more people than an exhaustively researched tome about the state of the nation today.  Overall, the cycle of the publishing industry is incompatible with the fickle 24 hour news cycle that we have today.

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