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This Land

The Story of a Movement
Narrated by: Owen Jones
Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.6 out of 5 stars (83 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.  

The number one best-selling author of Chavs and The Establishment returns with an urgent, revelatory account of where the left - and Britain - goes next.

On 12th December 2019, the left died. That at least was the view of much of Britain's media and political establishment, who saw the electoral defeat of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party as the damning repudiation of everything it stood for.  

Yet, just over four years previously, the election of Corbyn as Labour leader seemed like a sea-change in politics: reanimating not just a party in apparently terminal decline but a country adrift, with a transformative vision based on a more just, more equal society and economy.  

In this revelatory new book, Owen Jones explores how these ideas took hold, how they promised to change the nature of British politics - and how everything then went profoundly, catastrophically wrong. Why did the left fail so badly? Where, in this most critical of times, does that failure leave its values and ideas? Where does it leave Britain itself?  

©2020 Owen Jones (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A flawed, revisionist account of Corbyn's Labour

"History will undoubtedly be far kinder to the reluctant Labour leader than the judgment that currently prevails." This quote tells you all you need to know about Jones' revisionist attempt to reconcile all the evidence that the Corbyn project was doomed from the start, with his own role as a cheerleader and proponent of the same bad-faith arguments he likes to accuse others of.

6 people found this helpful

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Like watching paint dry

I was interested in hearing the account of an insider about the lead up to Labour's worst election result in many years. However, it was excruciating listening to Owen Jones reading his own book. The contents were masked by the droning, boring voice of Owen. He tries to put some expression in his reading, but fails. He could have been reciting a telephone directory. It just goes on and on. Flat and monotonous. The content, when I forced myself to isten, exposed the truly awful characters in this saga. The nasty, vile party members bully, argue and stab each other in the back. There is no loyalty. The lack of leadership in British politics on both sides is terrible, but this book depressingly shows that Labour is in dire straits. Why does Audible have some authors narrate their own books? They are untrained and are an inferior choice compared to professionals.

4 people found this helpful

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A Superb and Fascinating Listen

This is an intelligent, passionate, and well reasoned account of a highly troubled country and its politics. I have always admired Owen’s passion and willingness to enter into vigorous debate. He does so in this book with clarity and and even some humour! In recent times, I have felt despair and sadness at where the UK is heading. This book has managed to lift my spirits and hope for the future. I am delighted that Owen has chosen to read his book, which has added so much more colour, and is preferable to someone other than the author reading it. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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From Glastonbury to catastrophe

Guardian journalist, author and political commentator Owen Jones had a ringside seat during Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party for five years and this new book, narrated by the author, chronicles this fascinating period. We hear the story of how Corbyn was nearly not even on the ballot for the party leadership contest in 2015. Once elected, with the support of new party members on a the back of a campaign borrowed from Bernie Sanders that captured the imagination of young people and minorities he had to literally smash his way into his office. Corbyn set out a vision for fairer and kinder Britain based on social democratic principles turning away from the neo-liberalism of the Conservatives and New Labour. Against all odds, and despite the popular press deriding him as a no-hoper, Corbyn came agonisingly close to disposing the hapless Theresa May during the snap general election in 2017. Surprisingly, this book is not universally complimentary of Corbyn as a leader and Owen Jones pulls no punches in outlining his weaknesses as a leader and as a politician. Must of this is due to Corbyn's lack of front bench experience and refusal to undertake media training, insisting instead that he spoke from the heart rather than a script and sometimes forgetting the keys messages he was supposed to deliver. Ultimately, it was the taint of antisemitism that Corbyn was never able to shake off that eroded his approval ratings with the public and his failure to engage in the Brexit debate where, according to Owen Jones, listening to Corbyn being passionate about Brexit was like "listening to someone reading a photocopier manual". He has a point as Brexit became the single most important issue during his leadership years. From the Glasgow shipyards To the Durham miners To the Islington coffee shops This Land belongs to you and me If only Brexit had not got in the way. Oh no, Jeremy Corbyn.

1 person found this helpful

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Great and fair history of Corbynism

A rare and balanced look at Labours story over the past five years. It is the best single source of information on the subject if you wish to hear the facts on both sides of the arguement.

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makes you look at corbyn's tenure differently

don't fully agree with Jones' analysis of why Corbynism failed in my opinion (fundamentally in my opinion, because of labour's inability to come up with a consistent and coherent policy on brexit, which pleased no one and alienated everyone) it is a balanced and fair account of what happened. Jones is a good narrator and the book is easy to digest whilst still being intellectually developed

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Very good summary of the UK Labour 2015-2020

It feels like Owen is coming over for a coffee and has an insightful chat about the Labour party, analysing what went well, what went wrong and what we can do in the future.

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Brilliant and eye opening read

In the UK, especially when it comes to politics, it can be hard to take criticism, however the failures of the Labour Party in the run up of the 2019 election must be considered for the left to ever hope to make a positive, long lasting change in society. In This Land, Owen Jones covers the rise and fall of Corbynism in a detailed but still accessible manner.

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Highly Recommended

I knew this would be a challenging book to read. I elected instead to listen - with the expectation that the voice of the author would illuminate the text for me. This proved to be so and I enjoyed the inflexion of Owen’s voice lending greater meaning to his own words than had I read them for myself. As expected there is a lot of fine detail within the dense narrative of goings-on inside the Labour machine during the Corbyn era. Episodes such as that related to anti-semitism were especially challenging as there were so many players and so many twists and turns along the way. I still do t think I fully understand quite what went on. Overall, I feel enlightened - if not greatly heartened. The most left-wing manifestation of Labour in a generation failed on account of Corbyn being the wrong man with the right ideas. Probably, we shall all suffer for this failure in the long run.

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Insightful and entertaining read

Really enjoyed listening to this audio book. I thought it was a well thought out post analysis of the Labour movement with some hard truths which at times were difficult to stomach, but necessary to talk about.