Best political biographies

Never a dull moment in politics, eh? Take a look back at the lives of people who've made an impact, for better or worse, on the way we live now. These are Mumsnetters' favourite political biographies 

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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream - Barack Obama

"Barack Obama is an excellent author and so articulate, intelligent, insightful and really in touch with ordinary people."

"Finally got round to Barack Obama's first autobiography - it's brilliant and also made me so sad that he's on his way out of the White House." 

This Boy - Alan Johnson


"I couldn't put it down. It is a wonderful biography, told with humour and self-deprecation." 

"l loved this gently, humorous, account of the harsh, heart rendering early life of this politician. It tells of life in post war London so vividly that it is as much a social, historic document as a biography."


"This book was an absolutely gripping read. I would highly recommend this to give a better understanding of our relationship with British Sikhs nowadays and because it is a compelling story of our monarchy."

"I really enjoyed this book about Sophia, an unlikely figure in the suffragette movement. The care the author has taken to research this book shines through."

"I've just finished Alan Clark's Diaries. Didn't he just love himself? (and other women, too!) But it's a fascinating insight into Westminster and I was really touched by his obvious love for his children."

"Another vote for the Alan Clark diaries - most hilarious even to a hardened left-winger." 

"I loved Hillary Clinton's autobiography. Fascinating."

"More than anything she came across as smart and genuine. I enjoy her books very much. Go Hillary."

Autobiography of Malcolm X - Malcolm X

"One of the most compelling books I ever read." 

"Great reading for teens - it's not likely to turn them into a Black Panther as it's actually very thoughtful and shows how you can change your mind about people and situations."

An Evil Cradling - Brian Keenan


"It's an absolutely blinding book and unbelievably inspiring, given the subject matter."

"Blimey, I love An Evil Cradling - one of my all time favourite books. The man's a genius - a marvel - an absolute poet. The book deepened my understanding of the world situation as I was fairly ignorant before having read it."

"Mitford fans must read Hons and Rebels; partly because it's fascinating seeing her take on the family on which Nancy based some of her novels, and partly because she had a really interesting life."

"My favourite book... it's just so funny... and the follow-up is a really interesting insight into American politics at the time of McCarthyism and equal rights."

Maggie and Me - Damian Barr


"A brave and honest autobiography of a boy growing up in Glasgow in the 1980s, it is utterly absorbing. His story is in many ways so miserable, yet I never found him to be self-pitying or resentful. A real life Adrian Mole as if imagined by Irvine Welsh."

"I honestly cried, laughed, and cried a bit more at this book. Amazing book, amazing writer. He went through so much, and proved to everyone just how bloody brilliant he really is."

My Early Life - Winston Churchill


"The first 25 years of Churchill's life: cavalry charges, skirmishes on the North West Frontier, escape from a Boer prison camp and a visit to the Cuban War." 

"A very, very driven young man, completely focused and it's amazing what he had achieved by 26. It's a totally readable book. I was a bit afraid it would be too dense or overwrought but no, it's very clearly and engagingly written."

"I remember reading Nelson Mandela's 'Long Walk to Freedom' at a particular low point and thinking if he can tolerate nearly 30 years captivity and still emerge smiling in a flowery shirt, it kind of puts my trivial crap into perspective."

"My favourite book has now been brought out in a super children's illustrated and abridged edition: 'Long Walk to Freedom: Illustrated Children's Edition', abridged by Chris Van Wyk."

The Girl Who Beat ISIS: Karida's Story

"This is a book that should be on the GCSE reading list for discussion by every teenager in Britain. After her horrific treatment how can she ever lead a normal life in the future and trust in humanity again?" 

"A shockingly vivid testimony of Farida Khalaf's experiences at the hands of ISIS members. Her resolve and strength are amazing in the most adverse of circumstances."

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Last updated: about 2 months ago