Paddy Power Political Book Awards – the best political writing 2014

Parliament: the biography. Volume 1, Ancestral voices

Now in their third year, the Paddy Power Political Book Awards, founded by Biteback publisher and political commentator Iain Dale, are sponsored  by Paddy Power and Lord Ashcroft. The winner of the political book of the year receives £10,000, shortlist below.

A further £3,000 prize goes to the winner of the debut political book of the year award and there are other awards for biography of the year, polemic of the year, political history book of the year, and political fiction book of the year, while others cover practical politics, satire and humour, and international affairs. A new prize created this year will cover publishing on the First World War and a lifetime achievement award for political writing will be awarded at the ceremony on 28th January. Here’s ALL the shortlists

Dale said: “The Paddy Power Political Book Awards have become a permanent fixture in the book awards calendar. The calibre of the shortlisted authors is once again outstanding and the awards celebrate the breadth and diversity in political writing.”Margot at war: love and betrayal in Downing Street, 1912-16

Who’s in the running for political book of the year?

Chris Bryant, Shadow culture minister is up against Alan Johnson, former home secretary.

Parliament: The Biography by Chris Bryant is a two volume work. The first volume is a 400-year journey from Parliament’s very earliest days in the 14thC through the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses and horrors of the English Civil War up to the end of 18thC, when Parliament first truly began to take on its modern form. The second covers the extraordinary transformations of the last two hundred years, when politics took on its current form. The vote is extended to include the working classes and, eventually, women. The Labour Party is born. The world is torn apart by two extraordinarily bloody World Wars. And the political scandal is invented.

Alan Johnson’s Please, Mister Postman is a sequel to the bestselling ‘This Boy’ – Born in condemned housing in West London in 1950, with no heating, no electricity and no running water, Alan Johnson did not have the easiest start in life. By 18, he was married, a father and working as a postman in Slough. ‘Please, Mr Postman’ paints a vivid picture of Britain in the 1970s – a very different country to the one we know today – and reveals another fascinating chapter in his life.

Revolt on the right: explaining support for the radical right in BritainAnne de Courcy’s Margot at War An unconventional view of the First World War from inside the glittering social salon of Downing Street: a story of unrequited love, loss, sacrifice, scandal and the Prime Minister’s wife, Margot Asquith

Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain by Robert Ford & Matthew Goodwin. UKIP is the most significant new party in British politics for a generation. Both the party and the roots of its support remain poorly understood. Where has this political revolt come from? Who is supporting them, and why? How are UKIP attempting to win over voters? And how far can their insurgency against the main parties go? The book draws on a wealth of data to answer these questions.

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding. Edward Snowden, a young computer genius working for America’s National Security Agency, blew the whistle on the way this powerful organisation uses new technology to spy on the entire planet. The spies call it ‘mastering the internet’. Others call it the death of individual privacy. This is the inside story of Snowden’s deeds and the journalists who faced down the pressure from US and British governments to break a remarkable scoop

Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Barker. Danczuk, the current MP for Rochdale, outed Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith in the House of Commons as a serial child abuser. This book tells how Smith rose from poor beginnings to become a dominating political figure in the Northwest and nationally, and used his extraordinary profile to conceal a spectacular abuse of power.

Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts. It has become all too common for Napoleon Bonaparte’s biographers to approach him as a figure to be reviled, bent on world domination, practically a proto-Hitler. Here, after years of study extending even to visits paid to St Helena and 53 of Napoleon’s 56 battlefields, Andrew Roberts has created a true portrait of the mind, the life, the military, and above all political genius of a fundamentally constructive ruler.

Judges for this year’s awards include Charles Clarke, Caroline Michel and Damian McBride.

Last year’s winner of the political book of the year award was Charles Moore’s first volume of his authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher..

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