Politics On the Edge


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About the Author

Rory Stewart served in the UK Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development, and before that as Prisons Minister, Minister for Africa, Minister for Development, Environment Minister and Chair of the Defence Committee. He ran against Boris Johnson for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2019. Earlier in his career he was briefly in the British Army, before serving as a diplomat in Indonesia, the Balkans and Iraq, establishing and running a charity in Afghanistan, and holding a chair at Harvard University. His 21-month 6,000-milewalk across Asia, including Afghanistan, is recorded in his New York Times bestseller, The Places in Between. His other books include Occupational Hazards, and The Marches.

Stewart is now the president of the non-profit organisation GiveDirectly, a visiting fellow at Yale's Jackson School and the co-host with Alastair Campbell of the UK's leading podcast The Rest Is Politics. He tweets at @RoryStewartUK.


There’s no denying that Rory Stewart stands almost alone among British politicians: he’s one of a handful who can actually turn a phrase. That talent is put to good use here — no other account of how Cameron Toryism curdled into May and Johnson is likely to be as evocative or amusing as this one
*The Times, *The Times Political Book of the Year**

If you want to better understand the catastrophe that has been our government since 2010, or you just want to bask in Stewart’s beautifully formulated prose, read this book
*New Statesman, *Books of the Year**

A brilliant insider’s account of the Cameron-May-Johnson years
*FT, Books of the Year 2023*

It is the sheer sharpness, originality and truth-telling grace of Stewart’s prose, along with the vital importance of his subject, that makes his new book a truly exceptional political autobiography, both a pleasure to read, and a vital wake-up call
*Scotsman, *Books of the Year**

Beautifully written... You glimpse how transformative government could be
*Guardian, Books of the Year 2023*

A fascinating account of power, corruption and lies
*i, *Books of the Year**

[Stewart’s] memoir of his time in politics is valuable as a slice of entertainment, as an enjoyably catty takedown of his former colleagues, and as perhaps the most helpful recent account of the failings of the British state… a valuable contribution to the historical record
*Sunday Times, *Political Book of the Year**

Few books on politics are worth reading, but this is riveting. Beautifully written, with a highly personal, deeply felt slant, it really does make one want to turn over the page
*Church Times, *Books of the Year**

The sharpness of the character sketches and the restless nature of the author, buy turns self-loving and self-loathing, make it burst with life
*Observer, *Books of the Year**

The most exceptional political memoir I’ve ever read
*Alan Johnson*

Stewart… is a writer and his first loyalty is to his readers. Most of them will share his despair at the small-time mediocrities who dominate modern politics. Almost all will appreciate the book’s viciousness, eccentricity, wit and intelligence
*The Times, *Book of the Week**

Rarely before has the life of a government minister been described in such granular detail or with such literary flair... This book is a vital work of documentation: Orwell down the coal mine, Swift on religious excess. We should be grateful it was written and that Stewart never stopped being interesting.'
*Guardian, *Book of the Day**

The most compelling account I have read in recent years of the ways in which the British political system makes good government nigh-on impossible
*Sunday Times, *Book of the Week**

A superbly readable book. Former Tory minister Rory Stewart exposes the ‘shameful state’ of recent Conservative rule in this brilliant and blisteringly frank account of dysfunctional government

Few political memoirs last for long. Rory Stewart’s Politics on the Edge may be an exception… Stewart’s memoir is a brilliant portrait of the Cameron-May-Johnson era. It is likely to become a classic on a par with Clark’s diaries
*Financial Times*

One of the best books on politics our era will see… a book of astonishing literary quality
*Times Literary Supplement*

Anyone with the slightest interest in politics should get a copy of Rory Stewart's political memoir... In terms of the quality of writing, there has been nothing to approach it since the diaries of Alan Clark
*Daily Mail*

A significant book – candid, beautifully observed, written by someone with a questioning intelligence and a burning desire to make the world a better place

It is the sheer sharpness, originality and truth-telling grace of Stewart’s prose, along with the vital importance of his subject, that makes his new book a truly exceptional political autobiography, both a pleasure to read, and a vital wake-up call

Genuinely eye-opening stuff, always riveting, often horrifying… this is one of the most captivating political books in recent memory

One of the most excoriating political memoirs of modern times... Hugely entertaining, Politics on the Edge, is hard to dismiss
*Evening Standard*

An eye-opening (and highly enjoyable) read for anyone interested in understanding the realities of political power in the age of populism
*Yuval Noah Harari, author of SAPIENS*

Every page has something beautifully and memorably expressed and something interesting I haven't come across before
*Rev. Richard Coles*

An unsparing and brilliant portrait... The lying, incompetence, and treachery he depicts are all so blatant that the book should be assigned to bright young things to rid them of any remaining illusions before they put their name on a ballot
*The Atlantic*

So well and often so wittily written, and so revealing about British politics from top to bottom, that it is destined to become a classic of the genre
*Literary Review*

A truly absorbing and fascinating book
*Politics Home*

This fine, perceptive book shows just how much British politics needs someone like Rory Stewart: incisive, thoughtful, far more concerned with the business of good government than with the small-time idiocies of party politics. And how typical that he should have been driven out of government, and out of politics altogether
*John Simpson*

Very good… the book is often entertaining. Stewart vividly records his encounters with the key figures of his time…it’s enjoyable to read fresh evidence of it
*Sunday Telegraph*

In which clever, reasonable officer-class virtue witnesses close up a historic outbreak of unreason and irresponsibility - and takes the subtlest of revenges. By producing the best-written account there will ever be of what has happened to the Conservative Party since 2010, Rory Stewart ensures that his version of events will endure when Boris Johnson is only the mouldering memory of a fright-wig
*Francis Spufford*

Stewart writes with humour, elegance, sophistication, and style...he is unfailingly honest
*Irish Independent*

A far more compelling political memoir than many of those written by others. Anyone thinking about a career in politics should read this first

Extremely well written and a genuine pleasure to read… For anyone with an interest in politics it is well worth looking into
*News and Star*

Stewart is eloquent and indignant about duplicitousness and incompetence in modern politics

Compelling… Stewart's book is so well and often so wittily written, and so revealing about British politics from top to bottom, that it is destined to become a classic of the genre
*Literary Review*

If you’re looking for a curtain lifter on the arcane and at time obnoxious world of Westminster…this more than fits the bill
*City AM*

Highly amusing
*Daily Telegraph, *Books of the Year**

Both a riveting and painful read, which, frankly, exposes the glaring inadequacies of the dysfunctional way in which Britain is governed
*Church Times*

One of the most devastating insider accounts of Westminster I have ever read. An instant classic of political memoir.
*Marina Hyde*

An excoriating picture of a shamefully dysfunctional political culture
*Rowan Williams*

At last a politician who can write. Opinionated, lucid and thought-provoking
*Sebastian Faulks*

Enthralling, appalling and occasionally hilarious
*Tom Stoppard*

Any combination of insight, humanity, self-awareness and style in a political memoir is valuable. To achieve them all, as Rory Stewart has done, is exceptional
*Rafael Behr, author of POLITICS: A SURVIVOR'S GUIDE*

How Not to be a Politician is one of the most enjoyable and revelatory political memoirs to appear in ages - beautifully written, self-mocking but insistently principled. Stewart manages to make a life in professional politics seem laughable, entirely indefensible, and yet ennobling. This is a book that will be read for decades, as a document of its time and as timeless literature.
*Steve Coll, author of GHOST WARS*

Intense, funny, savage and profound. It's the best there is on life inside the modern palaces of power

An illuminating and excoriating insight into politics and power. Candid, angry, funny, and self-revelatory
*Jonathan Dimbleby*

The Rest is Politics is by a long way the most popular politics podcast in the country.
*The Times*

A no-holds-barred account of what's gone wrong with modern politics, from the outspoken former Conservative minister.
*Guardian, *Books to Look Out For 2023**

Engaged but objective, candid but not gossipy, and braced with strong conviction while accepting limitation. Rory Stewart has written a book that breathes life back into the cliché 'essential reading
*Andrew Motion*

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