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Kind of Blue Audiobook

Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir

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Publisher's Summary

Ken Clarke needs no introduction. One of the genuine 'Big Beasts' of the political scene, during his 46 years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire he has been at the very heart of government under three prime ministers. He is a political obsessive with a personal hinterland, as well known as a Tory Wet with Europhile views as for his love of cricket, Nottingham Forest Football Club and jazz.

In Kind of Blue, Clarke charts his remarkable progress from working-class scholarship boy in Nottinghamshire to high political office and the upper echelons of both his party and of government. But Clarke is not a straightforward Conservative politician. His position on the left of the party, often led Margaret Thatcher to question his true blue credentials and his passionate commitment to the European project, has led many fellow Conservatives to regard him with suspicion - and cost him the leadership on no less than three occasions.

Clarke has had a ringside seat in British politics for four decades, and his trenchant observations and candid account of life both in and out of government will enthrall listeners of all political persuasions. Vivid, witty and forthright, and taking its title not only from his politics but from his beloved Miles Davis, Kind of Blue is political memoir at its very best.

©2016 Ken Clarke (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (144 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ms Del 08/11/2016
    Ms Del 08/11/2016
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    "True Blue"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I already have! Ken Clarke's narration adds to the insight of his experiences across many years in parliament. Although I don't always agree with him politically, I felt a better understanding of the reasoning behind some decisions. Brexit makes this even more relevant.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How different ministries work and the trade unions associated with them. How politics and politicians roles have changed, also the rise of the right/media changes.


    What does Ken Clarke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I like his voice, but also he's able to stress things that's made it seem more personal. I can understand why he'd make a good companion.


    Any additional comments?

    Puts context into the actions of some post Brexit and yet despite it being a book about government in the main, I found it a very easy and enjoyable listen.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig J 07/08/2017
    Craig J 07/08/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "A great listen"

    An excellent listen, full of interesting anecdotes. I'd have liked more analysis of 1997-2010. His aloofness is one of his best features, and no doubt helps explain his longevity in politics, but more thorough description of the events of the time would have been interesting.
    All the same, a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H Newsam 16/07/2017
    H Newsam 16/07/2017 Member Since 2013
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    "Fascinating book"

    A reminder of what a mess the UK was in back in the 1970's and what the Tories did for good and bad. Ken Clarke is one of the best of them and he give a clear insight into his beliefs and views. This should be a companion piece to Nick Clegg's, Craig Oliver's book on Brexit and the commentator Owen Jones Chavs and The Establishment for anyone trying to make sense to today's politics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Prince 05/07/2017
    Prince 05/07/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "Absolutely fascinating insight."

    This is a really fantastic insight into the last 30-40 years in British politics. Extremely well written and read, with a fair amount of humour throughout. Would certainly recommend to both centre left and centre right leaning readers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raman 30/06/2017
    Raman 30/06/2017

    I am happy go lucky retired man.I am easy going.i am contented .my hobbies are yoga.mediation, reading good books,listening music etc.etc.

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    "grt book"

    i thoroughly enjoy this book.iwill recommend to anyone who enjoy political biography.thanks mr kenneth clarke

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Ewen 21/04/2017
    Thomas Ewen 21/04/2017 Member Since 2013
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    "A genuinely riveting listen"
    If you could sum up Kind of Blue in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful; Self-assured; candid.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Kind of Blue?

    The most obvious answer would be Ken Clarke's insights in to the Thatcher government which is transparent and incredibly interesting but actually it is the explanation of how the New Labour era and David Cameron's government actually functioned from someone who is from an era of conviction rather than populist politics which I found most gripping. An exceptional career, even if there aspects of his politics that I do not wholeheartedly subscribe to.


    What about Ken Clarke’s performance did you like?

    He describes in his foreword that this book is the result of a team effort; the labours of extremely good editing based on his late night dictations made whilst he supped on a brandy and smoked a cigar (or two). His performance is reflective of this creative genesis. it is personal, informal, and typical of his rather relaxed 'hush-puppy" style. It almost feels as though you could be sitting opposite him, listening to his "garrulous" meanderings whilst sitting in a chesterfield chair in a smoke filled room. A really nice listen.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His obvious love and aching for his departed companion and wife cannot fail to move. Especially so when it comes to the loss of his other passion, the loss of the UK's membership of the EU. The first I deeply sympathised with, the second I deeply empathised with.


    Any additional comments?

    The fact is that Ken Clarke is the hero of his own story. I am a person who only really became politically aware after the '97 New Labour landslide and so, the idea of what a conviction politician actually is, is quite alien to me. To listen to an individual such as Ken Clarke describe his deeply held and unwavering opinions with such intelligence and resounding certainty is remarkably refreshing. The complete absence of any form of self-doubt, any reflective (and navel gazing) questioning around the validity of his convictions are very far removed from my very generation Y sensibilities. I guess they just don't make them like him any more... Shame, really.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trevor 24/02/2017
    Trevor 24/02/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "Autobiography of an amiable man"


    Or, more properly as the title has it, a "political memoir".

    One problem with autobiography when presented as an audiobook is that, despite leading interesting lives, many autobiographers are not good readers. Conversely when an individual's voice is well known it seems wrong to hear his or her memoir being read by an actor. Fortunately, as a barrister and an MP Ken Clarke is an accomplished speaker and his reading works well.

    Clarke's congenial, hail-fellow-well-met exterior disguises a keen intellect and he was never afraid to disagree with his cabinet colleagues or his prime minister. His account of the Thatcher years is especially interesting.

    Clarke is a well known advocate of the EU and the book is sufficiently up to date to include the results of the recent referendum and his views on that result (as well as recalling his now famous off-the-cuff comment about Teresa May).

    On his own admission Clarke's successful 45-year political career owed much to his naturally easy going temperament and the loyal support of his wife. Incidentally, he asserts that despite the mythology he NEVER wore Hush Puppies. His suede shoes were hand made and very expensive!

    Recommended, especially for those who remember the Thatcher years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    A.S. Surrey, UK 22/02/2017
    A.S. Surrey, UK 22/02/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "fascinating man, fascinating story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book to start with and also the audio book when I decided to switch about a third of the way through as I started to commute on a regular basis.

    I have always respected Ken Clarke and found myself agreeing with most of his views but I had no idea about his views and actions before 1997. It is depressing to findout how little substance there is behind the tory right wing Euro scepticism

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Margaret 12/01/2017
    Margaret 12/01/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "A very enjoyable book and so well read by the author"

    This is a long book but very gripping all the way through and so much more enjoyable for being read by the author. What an incredibly wide experience he has and his obviously congenial nature and wisdom make him popular with people of all parties and persuasions. Britain would have been much better off with Ken as prime minister, particularly around the time preceding the Brexit vote.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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