Looking for a gift for someone interested in politics (or looking to treat yourself over Christmas)? Here are some recommendations, culled from the many books, films and sundry other items I’ve read, watched or otherwise used recently:
- War With The Newts by Karel Capek – brilliant political satire by the person who invented the word robot: “Nominally it is a piece of science fiction from 1936 … However this is not a book of Death Stars and phasers. It is set in (then) contemporary times and is a satire on politics, society and humanity in general. Colonialism, racism, capitalism, Fascism, appeasement and more all get the satirical going over in a book that combines these serious themes with a fast moving and very readable plot. The book shows how you can be worthy without being dull, erudite without being turgid.”
- King’s Game: a great Danish political thriller – “The leader of an opposition party is hospitalised after a horrific car crash days before polling day. Rivals to be his successor maneuver for support. A journalist looking to make his name on the political beat has a sniff of a story. Many political thrillers have raw ingredients similar to that. What raises King’s Game above them is the skill and the freshness with which they are combined.”
- Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a media manipulator – great insight in the dodgy underbelly of online manipulation: “Like Damian McBride, Ryan Holiday is a repentant spinner. Whilst McBride’s beat was British politics, Holiday’s is American culture, including time as Director of Marketing for the controversial clothing firm American Apparel.”
- And speaking of Damian McBride: Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin by Damian McBride – “McBride’s tactics and style are to be reviled. What he says about politics and the media however can still be learnt from.”
- But of course I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, dear reader, by leaving out 101 Ways To Win An Election, available from a range of online bookstores in both print and ebook versions: “Jolly but serious” – The Parliamentary Bookshop.
- Finally, for the doorstep activist, there is the future of clipboards.
Oh, and of course all of them are enhanced by simultaneous chocolate eating.