7 Best Political Memoirs To Read In These Turbulent Times

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

He may have been out of our lives and off the front pages for the last three years but David Cameron made a big media comeback last week with the release of his memoir For The Record. Promising to shed light on his time in Number 10 and the logic behind the Brexit referendum it’s caused a storm both inside and outside of Westminster. While politicians aren’t known for telling the complete truth, political memoirs can be a great way to understand Westminster power and its ... on society as a whole. Here are the seven best political memoirs that should top your reading list.

If the Brexit negotiations have made anything clear it’s that politics can be seriously shady and dramatic. I’ve been watching BBC Parliament nonstop and talking about Brexit drama with friends like it’s Love Island. When you’re not on the inside or reading the news 24/7 it can be easy to lose sight of exactly what’s going on. However, reading the books of politicians, their aides, and associates can help you build up a pretty good idea of what their tenure in power was like and where it all may have gone wrong. So here's what you should be reading to gaine= more insight in these turbulent times.

1. ‘The Downing Street Years’ by Margaret Thatcher

Whether you think it’s for good reasons or bad Margaret Thatcher is one of the most well-recognised and divisive characters in British political history. The first of her memoirs, The Downing Street Years covers Thatcher’s entire time as Prime Minister in her own words. From the Falklands War to miners strikes Thatcher’s legacy is well known. However, in her memoir you get her perspective on her time in power.

You can order it here.

2. ‘Dare To Be A Daniel’ by Tony Benn

One of the most radical figures in British left wing politics, Tony Benn has carved out a lasting legacy. However, in Dare To Be A Daniel he explains, in his own words, how growing up in austerity, his family, and the shadows of the Second World War shaped him as a person and politician. Dare To Be A Daniel doesn’t only look back on Benn's life but also forward to where the UK is going.

You can order it here.

3. ‘The Alastair Campbell Diaries’ by Alastair Campbell

He may have served as Tony Blair's political aide and press secretary in the 90s and early 00s but Alastair Campbell remains a super influential figure in British politics. Known as being crafty to say the least, his collection of diaries cover everything from Blairs superstar election win, the troubles running a country, and the Iraq war. Parts read like fiction, but Campbell writes very frankly and at times with great vulnerability. It makes for a really revealing read.

You can order it here.

4. ‘A Woman's Work’ by Harriet Harman

More and more is written about the experience of female MPs and aides in modern politics. However, few have had so much experience in the thick of it as Harriet Harman. She is Britain's longest serving female MP and in her memoir A Woman’s Work she documents her monumental highs and painful lows. From working on laws to improve maternity rights, childcare, and domestic violence to getting more women into parliament, it’s hard not to be inspired by Harman.

You can order it here

5. ‘The Truth At Last’ by Christine Keeler

You might not recognise Christine Keeler as being an MP or political aide but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t have a phenomenal impact on British political history. She was the person at the centre of the Profumo scandal. Her short affair with the then Secretary of State for War, John Profumo lead to the downfall of the MacMillan government and Keeler being tried for perjury and was jailed for a short time. She shared her story for the first time in The Truth At Last.

You can order it here.

6. Rise: Life Lessons in Speaking Out, Standing Tall & Leading the Way’ by Gina Miller

Before the 2016 EU referendum it’s unlikely you would have heard Gina Miller's name. But now the lawyer has become one of the most prominent faces in the Brexit negotiations. Thanks largely to taking the UK government to the Supreme Court to challenge its authority to trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval. In Rise she looks back on her decision to build a case against the government, the backlash she received, and the power in finding her voice.

You can order it here.

7. ‘The Third Man’ by Peter Mandleson

Peter Mandleson was one of the most recognisable faces in New Labour. In fact he’s almost as famous for his years in the Blair government as Blair himself. In his memoir The Third Man he documents exactly what life was like leading the government in background talks and the soap-opera like dramas that went on.

You can order it here.

Whether you’re a political animal or completely confused by Brexit, these seven political memoirs highlight how dramatic politics in the UK has always been. From the glamorous years of New Labour to the complexities of Brexit they’ll give you an insight into what life in Westminster is really like.