The

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Political Book
Awards 2014

In association with Politicos.co.uk

Award categories

Winners

Charles Moore wins Political Book of the Year. Lord Dobbs wins Lifetime Achievement Award.

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography by Charles Moore, published by Allen Lane, won the Political Book of the Year tonight at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards. The glittering ceremony, which was hosted by author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and held at the BFI IMAX, was attended by a select audience of authors, publishers and politicians. A cheque for £10,000 was donated and presented to the winning author by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC. The book was up against fierce competition in a category which included This Boy by Alan Johnson (Bantam Press), Empire of the Deep by Ben Wilson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Power Trip by Damian McBride (Biteback Publishing) and Perilous Question by Antonia Fraser (Weidenfeld & Nicolson). However, in spite of all the impressive entrants on the shortlist, the judges for this category, Lord Ashcroft, Professor Mary Beard, Chris Bryant MP, Keith Simpson MP, broadcaster Carolyn Quinn, and journalist and author Peter Riddell, reached a unanimous decision when they met to choose the winner. Judge Mary Beard said of the winning book: ‘This is an elegant and sometimes witty book; it is the kind of authoritative study that people will be referring to for decades – or even longer.’

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s novel One Night in Winter (Century) won Political Fiction Book of the Year. The award was presented by Patrick Kennedy, CEO of headline award sponsor Paddy Power. He commented:

Paddy Power has always believed that politics is entertaining and a fantastic backdrop for story-telling. So I was delighted to present the award for political fiction to Simon Sebag Montefiore’s page-turner. The competition gets stronger every year and One Night in Winter is a worthy winner.

There was fierce competition for the Political Biography of the Year, which was sponsored by Total Politics. The shortlist included A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine by Tony Benn (Hutchinson), Disraeli by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Edmund Burke by Jesse Norman (William Collins), Strictly Ann by Ann Widdecombe (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and Margaret Thatcher by Jonathan Aitken (Bloomsbury Continuum). The award was won by The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (Fourth Estate). The award was presented by Dame Ann Leslie.

The Debut Political Book of the Year was won by Iain Martin, author of Making It Happen (Simon & Schuster). Charles Clarke presented the winner with a cheque for £3,000, also donated by Lord Ashcroft.

Winner of the Political History Book of the Year, in association with News UK, was Richard Davenport-Hines for his book An English Affair (Harper Press). Victoria Newton, Editor of the Sun on Sunday, presented the award.

Damian Barr’s book Maggie & Me (Bloomsbury Publishing) won the Political Humour and Satire Book of the Year, which was sponsored by The InterContinental London Westminster. The award was presented by actress Stella Gonet, who plays Margaret Thatcher in the play Handbagged, a short excerpt of which was performed during the awards.

Former Dragon Hilary Devey presented the award for Polemic of the Year to Daniel Hannan for his book How We Invented Freedom and Why It Matters (Head of Zeus).

Practical Politics Book of the Year was won by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe for The Blunders of Our Governments (Oneworld Publications), which was presented by the Speaker, John Bercow.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, presented the award for International Affairs Book of the Year to Margaret MacMillan for her book The War That Ended Peace (Profile Books).

The award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to Lord Dobbs, former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party and bestselling author of the House of Cards trilogy, which has been made into a hit TV series both in the UK and, more recently, in the US, starring Kevin Spacey. Lord Dobbs is also well known for his series of Winston Churchill novels, Harry Jones thrillers and Tom Goodfellowe novels. The award was presented on screen by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Iain Dale, founder of the awards, said, ‘ These awards celebrate the fantastic breadth of political writing in the UK today, and I hope that they will encourage more people to both read and write political literature.’

View the shortlist in full

About the awards

The Paddy Power Political Book Awards in association with Politicos.co.uk seeks to recognise the very best in political writing and publishing. Winners across nine categories will be chosen by our panels of political celebrity judges with prizes kindly donated by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC.

Award categories

Political Book of the Year

In association with Lord Ashcroft

The Political Book of the Year will be awarded to the book deemed to have been the most impressive political book published in the past year, or that which has had the most overall impact on politics, political thought and/or political debate. The book will have been widely read, discussed, and will have made a significant contribution to British political debate this year. It will be original and have broken new ground in the field of political writing. It will be superbly written, thoroughly researched, accessible, engaging and enthusiastic. There is a prize of £10,000 for the winner of this award, kindly donated by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC.

The judges include...

Square grayscale ashcroft Lord Ashcroft
Politician, international businessman and philanthropist
Square grayscale mary beard Mary Beard
Classicist and author
Square grayscale carolyn quinn Carolyn Quinn
Radio presenter
Square grayscale keith simpson Keith Simpson
Politician and historian
Square grayscale peter riddell Peter Riddell
Journalist and author
Square grayscale chris bryant Chris Bryant
Politician

Debut Political Book of the Year

The Debut Political Book of the Year Award will be presented to author of the book judged to have been the most impressive debut by an author of any age. The book will be the first to have been published by the author, and will be well written, clear, show a natural flair for political writing and demonstrate personality and skill. The author will have brought a fresh perspective and expertise to the subject at hand, and illustrate the potential for further political writing in the future. There is a prize of £3,000 for the winner of this award, kindly donated by Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC.

The judges include...

Square grayscale david trimble David Trimble
Former First Minister of Northern Ireland
Square grayscale john pienaar John Pienaar
Chief Political Correspondent, Radio 5 Live
Square grayscale jo phillips Jo Phillips
Journalist and author
Square grayscale author photo Vicky Pryce
Economist and author
Square grayscale colummist sandra parsons Sandra Parsons
Literary Editor of the Daily Mail

Political Biography of the Year

In association with Total Politics

The Political Biography of the Year Award will be awarded to the author of a biography or autobiography of a political figure which is superbly well written, accessible, appealing, thoroughly researched, and drawing on a number of resources, both primary and secondary. It will be analytical, reflective, contextual, informative, illustrative, balanced and show an enthusiasm for its subject. Ideally it will bring to light previously unknown information about its subject, doing so in a thought-provoking, inspiring manner. It should address the political context surrounding its subject, as well as the subject itself.

The judges include...

Square grayscale steve norris Steve Norris
Businessman and former MP
Square grayscale glen oglaza Glen Oglaza
Political journalist
Square grayscale jacqui smith Jacqui Smith
Former Home Secretary
Square grayscale darren henley Darren Henley OBE
Managing Director of Classic FM
Square grayscale marlyn Marilyn Warnick
Books Editor of the Mail of Sunday

Polemic of the Year

The Polemic of the Year Award will be presented to the author of a book deemed to have presented the most important case of debate. The book will be a thorough and complete argument of its case and will have sparked discussion, been covered widely, be persuasive, show personality and have the power to bring readers round to its way of thinking. Ideally it will have covered previously uncharted ground, or presented a familiar issue in a fresh light. The book should strike a balance between being informative and sustaining its line of argument.

The judges include...

Square grayscale yasmin alibhai brown Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Journalist and political commentator
Square grayscale james o brien James O’Brien
Radio presenter
Square grayscale isabel hardman Isabel Hardman
Political journalist
Square grayscale nick debois Nick de Bois
Politician
Square grayscale mark d arcy Mark D'Arcy
Political correspondent for BBC News

Political History Book of the Year

In association with News UK

The Political History Book of the Year Award will be presented to the author of a book judged to have delivered the most impressive piece of political historical writing in the last year. The book can cover any period of history and will clearly demonstrate the political significance of the time in question. The account will be analytical, informative, thoroughly researched, well-written, accessible and appealing. Ideally it would bring to light fresh information on the period it covers, or display an original format. It will show expertise and above all enthusiasm.

The judges include...

Square grayscale keith simpson Keith Simpson
Politician and historian
Square grayscale caroline shenton Caroline Shenton
Winner of the Political Book of the Year 2013
Square grayscale stephen twigg Stephen Twigg
Politician
Square grayscale philip cowley 140x140 Philip Cowley
Professor of Parliamentary Government
Square grayscale chris mullin 006 Chris Mullin
Bestselling author and former MP

International Affairs Book of the Year

The International Affairs Book of the Year Award will be awarded to the author of a book which has most comprehensively addressed the international issues of any region, whether these be the topics already dominating the agenda or those lesser known. The book will have addressed its subject in an accessible format, and brought to wider attention the issues under discussion. It should demonstrate expertise, fresh perspective, forward thinking and a comprehensive analysis of the matter at hand, and will be a valuable contribution to the current body of literature on international affairs.

The judges include...

Square grayscale catherine mayer Catherine Mayer
Author and journalist
Square grayscale sir ming Sir Ming Campbell
Politician
Square grayscale christopher meyer Sir Christopher Meyer
Former British Ambassador to the US
Square grayscale andrew mitchell Andrew Mitchell
Politician
Square grayscale francis elliot Francis Elliott
Political journalist

Practical Politics Book of the Year

The Practical Politics Book of the Year Award will be given to author of a book which has analysed, explained and made accessible the structures and processes of politics, either current or past. It will be well written, clear, analytical, contextual, timely and thoroughly researched, drawing on a number of sources. It will have brought the finer details of the political process to wider attention and shown an enthusiasm for its subject, striking a balance between informing, analysing and sustaining a line of argument.

The judges include...

Square grayscale baroness grender Baroness Grender of Kingston Upon Thames
Liberal Democrat Life Peer
Square grayscale tom harris Tom Harris
Politician
Square grayscale baroness shephard Baroness Shephard of Northwold
Author and former Secretary of State for Education
Square grayscale david hencke 140x140 David Hencke
Political journalist
Square grayscale romillyweeksws Romilly Weeks
Political correspondent for ITN

The Political Humour and Satire Book of the Year

In association with The InterContinental London Westminster

The Political Humour/Satire Book of the Year Award will be presented to the author of most witty and/or intelligently satirical political book of the year. The book should be able to raise a smile whilst also conveying a serious and thought-provoking political message. It will be original, entertaining and above all it will make the judges and the reader laugh. It should cover a subject that the reader can identify with, and make the issue at hand more accessible through wit, without demeaning it.

The judges include...

Square grayscale guto harri Guto Harri
Director of Communications, News UK
Square grayscale jerry hayes Jerry Hayes
Lawyer and former politician
Square grayscale andrew pierce Andrew Pierce
Political journalist
Square grayscale zoe williams 007 Zoe Williams
Journalist
Square grayscale ann treneman Ann Treneman
Parliamentary sketchwriter

Political Fiction Book of the Year

The Political Fiction Book of the Year Award will be given to the author of a book which is gripping, engaging and well written. The book will be original, or have provided a fresh twist to the existing political fiction market. It should be relatable to current political issues as well as thought-provoking and entertaining. It should convey a strong political message to the reader, and above all should draw the reader in and be a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The judges include...

Square grayscale edwina currie Edwina Currie
Author and former politician
Square grayscale jacqui ashley Jackie Ashley
Journalist and broadcaster
Square grayscale daisy mcandrew Daisy McAndrew
Political journalist
Square grayscale anne alexander Anne Alexander
Political Reporter
Square grayscale hugorifkind460 Hugo Rifkind
Columnist and author

Lifetime Achievement Award in Political Literature

The Lifetime Achievement Award in Political Literature will be presented to an author with sustained influence and popularity in the field of political literature over a significant period of time. Their published works will have covered a range of topics and they will have made a significant contribution to global political debate. They should be a respected and well recognised figure in the field, and have broken new ground in political writing. They must have demonstrated a sustained commitment to and enthusiasm for political writing.

Venue and ceremony

  • BFI IMAX
  • 19.03.2014

The awards ceremony will take place at the BFI IMAX cinema on the 19th March 2014. Featuring a glamorous compére, high-profile judges and announcers for each award as well as the best political writers around.

Shortlisted books

Political Book of the Year

In association with Lord Ashcroft

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This Boy A Memoir of a Childhood, by Alan Johnson. Bantam Press/Transworld.

Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Played out against the background of a vanishing community living in condemned housing, the story moves from post-war austerity, to school on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging Sixties, to the rock-and-roll years and becoming a husband and father whilst still in his teens. Alan Johnson writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, of humour and openness, which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of miseries.

Buy now

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Empire of the Deep The Rise and Fall of the British Navy, by Ben Wilson. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Much more than a parade of admirals and their battles, this is the story of how an insignificant island nation conquered the world's oceans to become its greatest trading empire. Yet, as Ben Wilson shows, there was nothing inevitable about this rise to maritime domination, nor was it ever an easy path. Empire of the Deep also reveals how our naval history has shaped us in more subtle and surprising ways - our language, culture, politics and national character all owe a great debt to this conquest of the seas. This is a gripping, fresh take on our national story.

Buy now

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I Am Malala The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday 9 October 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price. I am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, and of Malala's parents' fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. It will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world. At sixteen, she has become the youngest ever nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Buy now

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Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography Volume One: Not For Turning, by Charles Moore. Allen Lane/Penguin Books.

The first volume of Charles Moore's authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher, the longest-serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century and one of the most influential political figures of the post-war era. It gives unparalleled insight into her early life and formation and recreates brilliantly the atmosphere of British politics as she made her way up taking us to what was arguably the zenith of her power, victory in the Falklands. This is the indispensable, fully rounded portrait of a towering figure of our times.

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Power Trip A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin, by Damian McBride. Biteback Publishing.

From 1999 to 2009, Damian McBride worked at the heart of the Treasury and No. 10 before a notorious scandal propelled him onto the front pages and out of Downing Street. In Power Trip he writes candidly about his experiences at the heart of government, and provides the first genuine insider's account of Gordon Brown's time as Chancellor and Prime Minister. He reveals the personal feuds, political plots and media manipulation which lay at New Labour's core, and provides a fascinating, funny and at times shocking account of how government really works.

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Perilous Question The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832, by Antonia Fraser. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

This is a book that takes us from Wellington's intractable declaration in November 1830 that 'the beginning of reform is the beginning of revolution', to 7 June 1832, the date of the extremely reluctant royal assent by William IV to the Great Reform Bill, under the double threat of the creation of sixty new peers in the House of Lords and the threat of revolution throughout the country. These events lead to a total change in the way Britain was governed, a two-year revolution that Antonia Fraser brings to vivid, dramatic life.

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Debut Political Book of the Year

Resized empire of secrets
Empire of Secrets British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire, by Calder Walton. William Collins/HarperCollins.

This is the first book to draw on records from the Foreign Office's secret archive at Hanslope Park, which contains some of the darkest and most shameful secrets from the last days of Britain's empire. Packed with incidents straight out of a John le Carré novel, Empire of Secrets is an exhilarating read by an exciting new voice in intelligence history.

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Resized making it happen
Making It Happen Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy, by Iain Martin. Simon & Schuster.

This is the definitive account of the RBS disaster, a disaster which still casts a shadow over our economy. From the birth of the Royal Bank in eighteenth-century Scotland, to the manic expansion under Fred Goodwin in the middle of a mad boom, and culminating in the epoch-defining collapse, Making It Happen is the full, extraordinary story.

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Resized people power
People Power A User's Guide to Democracy, by Dan Jellinek. Bantam Press/Transworld.

Providing a unique and accessible guide to democracy in Britain, People Power explains how its elements work, from elections to the rule of law - and the role that we, the public, need to play to keep the wheels turning. If you want to know how your small actions can bring about big changes, how you can improve your lot and the lives of others, then you must read this book.

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Resized rising tides
Rising Tides Facing the Challenges of a New Era, by Liam Fox. Heron Books/Quercus.

Liam Fox begins by questioning what decision-makers fear as the threats to world stability and peace, and draws on his own experience to illuminate world events, past and present. In conversation with those responsible for keeping the world afloat he examines both triumph and disaster and explains how to meet the challenge of the new global reality.

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Resized the default line
The Default Line The Inside Story of People, Banks and Entire Nations on the Edge, by Faisal Islam. Head of Zeus.

How can a banking system become so unregulated that it offers a gold credit card to a dog? For Faisal Islam, these systems are examples of nations, institutions and individuals crossing the 'default line'. Having exposed the Icelandic banking crisis and watched Lehman Bros crash, Faisal Islam is the perfect guide to the global economic crisis.

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Resized the new middle east
The New Middle East The World After the Arab Spring, by Paul Danahar. Bloomsbury.

Drawing on compelling first-hand reporting and deep knowledge of the region's history and access to many of its key players, Paul Danahar lays bare the forces that are shaping the new Middle East. If the people of the Arab world can now speak openly for the first time, then it is also the West's first chance to listen. And there are many questions to be answered.

Buy now

Political Biography of the Year

In association with Total Politics

Resized a blaze of autumn sunshine
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine The Last Diaries, by Tony Benn. Hutchinson/Random House.

Published here alongside these last diaries are Tony Benn's highly personal insights into the challenges of old age and failing health, of widowhood, and of moving out of the family home after sixty years. Finally, we share in Tony Benn's hopes for the future based on his years of experience and natural optimism.

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Resized disraeli
Disraeli or, The Two Lives, by Douglas Hurd & Edward Young. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

A 'gripping, succinct and lethal' (Matthew Parris, The Times) reappraisal of the life of Benjamin Disraeli, the most celebrated and colourful politician of the nineteenth century. Benjamin Disraeli was the most gifted parliamentarian and a superb orator, writer and wit - but how much do we really know about the man behind the words?

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Resized edmund burke
Edmund Burke Philosopher, Politician, Prophet, by Jesse Norman. William Collins/HarperCollins.

Philosopher, statesman and founder of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke is both the greatest and most underrated political thinker of the past three hundred years. Burke's wisdom, Norman shows, applies well beyond the times of empire to the conventional democratic politics practised in Britain and America today.

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Resized margaret thatcher   power   personality
Margaret Thatcher Power and Personality, by Jonathan Aitken. Bloomsbury Continuum/Bloomsbury.

Drawing on his own diaries, and a wealth of extensive research including interviews with international statesmen, many of her No. 10 private secretaries and personal friends, Jonathan Aitken's Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality breaks new ground as a fresh and fascinating portrait of the most influential political leader of post-war Britain.

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Resized strictly ann
Strictly Ann The Autobiography, by Ann Widdecombe. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Ann Widdecombe recalls her life and highlights the people and events that most influenced her along the way. Also containing Ann's trenchant views on the coalition, MPs' expenses and the state of the nation, this is a provocative and entertaining read. Frank, ruthless and engaging, Ann's autobiography will delight her admirers and win her yet more fans.

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Resized the pike
The Pike Gabriele D'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer & Preacher of War, by Lucy Hughes-Hallett. Fourth Estate/HarperCollins.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett charts the controversial life of D'Annunzio, the debauched artist who became a national hero. His evolution from idealist Romantic to radical right-wing revolutionary is a political parable. Through his ideological journey, we witness the political turbulence of early twentieth-century Europe and the emergence of fascism.

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Polemic of the Year

Resized how we invented freedom   why it matters
How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters By Daniel Hannan. Head of Zeus.

Freedom is the central concept in Western history and political thought, yet from where did it stem? Daniel Hannan presents the story of how the inhabitants of our damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the extraordinary idea that the state was the servant, not the master, of the individual.

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Resized what should we tell our daughters
What Should We Tell Our Daughters? The Pleasures and Pressures of Growing Up Female, by Melissa Benn. John Murray/Hodder & Stoughton.

This is a manifesto for every mother who has ever had to comfort a daughter who doesn't feel 'pretty', for every young woman who out-performs her male peers professionally and wonders why she is still not taken seriously, and for anyone interested in the world we are making for the next generation.

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Resized the last vote
The Last Vote The Threats to Western Democracy, by Philip Coggan. Allen Lane/Penguin Books.

Amid the turmoil of the financial crisis and an ever-growing gap between the richest and the rest, it is easy to forget that the ultimate victim could be our democracy itself. The Last Vote is a wake-up call, and an illuminating defence of a system which, in Churchill's words, is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.

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Resized the necessity of poverty
The Necessity of Poverty By John Bird. Quartet.

A former rough sleeper and troubled child of poverty, John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, has written an excoriating attack on orthodox thinking around the gap between rich and poor. Provoking an intellectual revolution, he spares neither himself nor others in identifying what needs to be done to end poverty.

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Resized what has nature ever done for us
What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? How Money Really Does Grow On Trees, by Tony Juniper. Profile Books.

Nature provides the 'natural services' that keep the economy going. Yet we take most of Nature's services for granted, imagining them free and limitless...until they suddenly switch off. Tony Juniper's book will change the whole way you think about life, the planet and the economy.

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Resized the british dream
The British Dream Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration, by David Goodhart. Atlantic Books.

David Goodhart tells the story of post-war immigration and charts a course for its future. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with people from all over the country and a wealth of statistical evidence, he paints a striking picture of how Britain has been transformed by immigration and examines the progress of its ethnic minorities.

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Political History Book of the Year

In association with News UK

Resized churchill s first war
Churchill's First War Young Winston and the Fight Against the Taliban, by Con Coughlin. Macmillan.

A gripping and revelatory account of Winston Churchill's first military campaign, Churchill's First War is not only a dramatic and vivid piece of military history but affords us a rare insight into both the nineteenth-century 'Great Game' and the twenty-first-century conflict that has now raged longer than the Second World War and taken more lives than the Falklands.

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Resized an english affair
An English Affair Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo, by Richard Davenport-Hines. William Collins/HarperCollins.

Published to conincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Profumo scandal. The Profumo Affair was a perfect storm, and when it broke it rocked the Establishment. Sex, drugs, class, race, chequebook journalism and the criminal underworld - the Profumo Affair had it all. This is the story of how Sixties England cast off respectability and fell in love with scandal.

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Resized great britain s great war
Great Britain's Great War A Sympathetic History of Our Gravest Folly, by Jeremy Paxman. Viking/Penguin.

What was life really like for the British people during the First World War? Using a wealth of first-hand source material, Jeremy Paxman brings vividly to life the day-to-day experience of the British over the entire course of the First World War, capturing the whole mood and morale of the nation. A gripping narrative from the point of view of the British people.

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Resized high minds
High Minds The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain, by Simon Heffer. Random House Books/Random House.

Britain in the 1840s was a country wracked by poverty, unrest and uncertainty. By the 1880s it was a confident nation of progress and prosperity. Simon Heffer offers a superbly nuanced insight into life in an extraordinary era, populated by extraordinary people - and how our forebears' pursuit of perfection gave birth to modern Britain.

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Resized when britain burned the white house
When Britain Burned the White House The 1814 Invasion of Washington, by Peter Snow. John Murray/Hodder & Stoughton.

In August 1814 the US army is defeated in battle by an invading force just outside Washington DC. When Britain Burned the White House highlights this unparalleled moment in American history, its far-reaching consequences for both sides, and Britain's and America's decision never again to fight each other.

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Resized catastrophe
Catastrophe Europe Goes to War 1914, by Max Hastings. William Collins/HarperCollins.

This book offers answers to the huge and fascinating question 'what happened to Europe in 1914?', through Max Hastings's accustomed blend of top-down and bottom-up accounts from a multitude of statesmen and generals, peasants, housewives and private soldiers of seven nations. His narrative pricks myths and offers some striking and controversial judgements.

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International Affairs Book of the Year

Resized angela merkel
Angela Merkel A Chancellorship Forged in Crisis, by Alan Crawford & Tony Czuczka. Wiley.

The definitive new biography of the world's most powerful woman. Through exclusive interviews the book reveals the drama of the crisis that came to dominate Angela Merkel's chancellorship. Written by two long-standing Merkel watchers, the book documents how her decisions and vision - both works in progress - are shaping a pivotal moment in European history.

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Resized chinese whispers
Chinese Whispers Why Everything You've Heard About China is Wrong, by Ben Chu. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

We think we know China. But how accurate is this picture? Chinese Whispers tugs aside the age-old curtain of distortion in a powerful counterblast to modern assumptions about China. By examining the central myths, or 'whispers', that have come to dominate our view of China, Ben Chu forces us to question everything we thought we knew about the world's most populous nation.

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Resized north korea undercover
North Korea Undercover By John Sweeney. Bantam Press/Transworld.

Posing as a university professor, John Sweeney travelled undercover to gain unprecedented access to the world's most secret state. North Korea Undercover pulls back the curtain, providing a rare insight into the life there today, examining the country's troubled history and addressing important questions about its uncertain future.

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Resized in the ring
In The Ring A Commonwealth Memoir, by Don McKinnon. Elliott & Thompson.

In the Ring deals with impossibly devious plots and characters; a British government often with a misplaced sense of its own role in one of the world's oldest organisations; a Royal family; and an organisation of 300 people, externally working to help the world while inwardly struggling along racial and geo-political lines. You couldn't make it up - and he hasn't.

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Resized the war that ended peace
The War that Ended Peace How Europe abandoned Peace for the First World War, by Margaret MacMillan. Profile Books.

Margaret MacMillan uncovers the huge political and technological changes, national decisions and - just as important - the small moments of human muddle and weakness that led Europe from peace to disaster. This masterful exporation of how Europe chose its path towards war will change and enrich how we see this defining moment in our history.

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The World's Most Dangerous Place Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia, by James Fergusson. Bantam Press/Transworld.

Award-winning journalist James Fergusson is among the few to have witnessed the devastating reality of life in the failed and desperate state of Somalia. He gives a unique account of a country ravaged by war, considers what the future might hold and exposes the reality of life in this hard, often forgotten land.

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Practical Politics Book of the Year

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5 Days in May The Coalition and Beyond, by Andrew Adonis. Biteback Publishing.

In the wake of the inconclusive May 2010 general election, Lord Adonis and other senior Labour figures sat down for talks with the Liberal Democrat leadership to try to persuade them to govern Britain together. Despite calls for him to give his own account of this historic sequence of events, Adonis has kept his own counsel until now. 5 Days in May is a remarkable and important insider account.

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Democracy Ltd How Money and Donations Corrupted British Politics, by Bobby Friedman. Oneworld Publications.

In this blistering exposé, investigative journalist Bobby Friedman reveals how upstanding party treasurers and Cabinet ministers have been turned into desperate courters of the rich. Discover the truth behind the toxic system where money buys you access and trade union power is king. This enthralling book exposes who is really pulling the strings in British government.

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The Blunders of Our Governments By Anthony King & Ivor Crewe. Oneworld Publications.

Distinguished political scientists Anthony King and Ivor Crewe open our eyes to the worst goverment horror stories and explain why the British political system is quite so prone to appalling mistakes. Informed by years of research and interviews, this razor-sharp diagnosis of flawed government is required reading for every UK citizen.

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In It Together The Inside Story of the Coalition Government, by Matthew d'Ancona. Viking/Penguin.

Renowned political journalist Matt d'Ancona cuts right to the heart of the Lib Dem-Tory struggle, with exclusive, unprecedented access to all the major senior figures. A breathtaking book that takes you into the heart of government, it reveals the truth behind the corridors of Whitehall and No. 10.

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The Contemporary House of Lords Westminster Bicameralism Revived, by Meg Russell. Oxford University Press.

As the second chamber of the Westminster Parliament, the House of Lords has a central position in British politics. This book provides the first detailed portrait of the post-1999 Lords. As a 'no overall control' chamber, it has inflicted numerous defeats on the governments and become an important site of negotiation.

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Trading Secrets Spies and Intelligence in an Age of Terror, by Mark Huband. I. B. Tauris.

Today's intelligence community faces challenges that would have been inconceivable only a dozen years ago. Award-winning journalist Mark Huband takes us deep inside this new unseen world of spies and intelligence and provides a unique and controversial assessment of the ability of the major intelligence agencies to combat the threat of twenty-first-century terrorism.

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The Political Humour and Satire Book of the Year

In association with The InterContinental London Westminster

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Britty Britty Bang Bang One Man's Attempt to Understand his Country, by Hugh Dennis. Headline.

Hugh Dennis has secretly been worrying about what being 'British' meant for nearly a decade, ever since a friend had told him in passing that he was the most British person he had ever met. Hugh was unclear whether he was being praised, teased, vaguely insulted or possibly all three. This is Hugh Dennis's exploration of the changing image of Britain and Britishness.

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Maggie & Me By Damian Barr. Bloomsbury.

It's 12 October 1984. An IRA bomb blows apart the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Miraculously, Margaret Thatcher survives. In small-town Scotland, eight-year-old Damian Barr watches in horror as his mum rips her wedding ring off and packs her bags. He knows he, too, must survive. Maggie & Me is a touching and darkly witty memoir about surviving Thatcher's Britain.

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Private Eye Annual 2013 By Ian Hislop. Private Eye.

Britain's first, most successful and indeed only fortnightly satirical magazine. Founded in 1961, it has consistently entertained, informed and irritated its readers. Over five turbulent decades it has developed its unique mix of jokes and journalism, comedy and campaigning, gags and gossip, laughter and libel, to cover the public life of the nation.

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Romps, Tots and Boffins The Stange Language of News, by Robert Hutton. Elliott & Thompson.

When Rob Hutton began collecting examples of journalese online, he provoked a 'Twitter storm'. In a courageous attempt both to wean journalists off their journalese habit and to provide elucidation for the rest of us, Romps, Tots and Boffins catalogues the highs and lows of this strange language, celebrating the best examples, marvelling at the quirkiest and condemning the worst.

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Sign of the Times By Peter Brookes. The Robson Press.

The latest collection of razor-sharp sketches of contemporary life by Britain's finest political cartoonist. Full of mischief and political savvy, Sign of the Times subjects the world and its leaders to the most sophisticated of lampoonings, brilliantly satirising those who populate the political classes. Little escapes the well-aimed swipe of Brookes's pen in this hilarious and entertaining collection of beautifully crafted cartoons.

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The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets True Stories from the Government Archives, by Adam Macqueen. Little, Brown.

Stored in Whitehall's archives is everything from blood-chilling warnings of imminent nuclear attack to comical details of daily life in the corridors of power. Mary Whitehouse's complaints about the sex eduction syllabus nestle next to thank-you notes from prisoner 13260/62, also known as Nelson Mandela. This is a collection of state secrets that those in power might have preferred to go unnoticed...

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Political Fiction Book of the Year

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A Ghost at the Door By Michael Dobbs. Simon & Schuster.

Harry has almost lost everything. What starts as a gentle enquiry uncovers a trail of murder and guilt-ridden love. At every turn Harry discovers that the childhood world he thought he knew was false, along with almost everyone in it. Only when he confronts his own death does he realise that all along he's been used as a pawn in a far larger game.

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The Queen of Four Kingdoms By Princess Michael of Kent. Constable & Robinson.

Yolande of Aragon is sent away to marry the young Duke of Anjou. Their marriage has been arranged to form an alliance between the warring kingdoms. Yet the union between Yolande and Louis not only becomes a great love story, but also sets in motion events which will change the course of history.

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The Wall By William Sutcliffe. Bloomsbury.

Joshua is a troubled boy who lives in a divided city, where a wall and soldiers separate two communities. He discovers a manhole, which leads in pitch darkness under the wall and across to the other side. An act of kindess from a girl saves his life, but leads to a brutal act of cruelty and a terrible debt he's determined to repay.

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One Night In Winter By Simon Sebag Montefiore. Century/Random House.

As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. A teenage boy and girl lie dead. But these are no ordinary teenagers. Directed by Stalin himself, an investigation begins. This terrifying witch-hunt soon unveils illicit love affairs and family secrets in a hidden world where the smallest mistakes will be punished with death.

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My Name Is... By Alastair Campbell. Hutchinson/Random House.

Hannah is seventeen. A drink makes her feel better. For a bit. This is the story of Hannah's addiction as seen by the people around her - her mum, her little sister, her best friend, her best friend's mother, her mum's boyfriend... Powerful and passionate, their voices shed a sometimes shocking, sometimes tender light on a life veering terrifyingly off course.

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The Kill List By Frederick Forsyth. Bantam Press/Transworld.

Tasked with what seems like an impossible job is an ex-US marine who has risen through the ranks to become one of America's most effective intelligence chiefs. He must gather what scant evidence there is and unmask The Preacher. Aided only by a brilliant teenaged hacker, he must throw out the bait and see whether his deadly target can be drawn from his lair...

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Contact us

If you have any further queries about The Political Book Awards, please contact Katy Scholes at katy.scholes@politicalbookawards.com or by calling 020 7091 1264.