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For the Record cover art

For the Record

By: David Cameron
Narrated by: David Cameron
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Summary

The referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in 2016 has been one of the most controversial political events of modern times. For the first time, the man who called that vote talks about the decision and its origins, as well as giving a candid account of his time at the top of British politics.   

David Cameron was Conservative Party leader during the largest financial crash in living memory. The Arab Spring and the Eurozone crisis both started during his first year as prime minister. The backdrop to his time in office included the advent of ISIS, surging migration and a rapidly changing EU.   

Here he talks about how he confronted those challenges, from modernising a party that had suffered three successive electoral defeats to forming the first coalition government for 70 years. He sets out how he helped turn around Britain’s economy, implementing a modern, compassionate agenda that included education and welfare reform, the legalisation of gay marriage, the referendum on Scottish independence and world-leading environmental policies.   

David Cameron is searingly honest about the key players from his time in politics. And he is frank about himself - the things he got right and the things he got wrong. He opens up about family life too, including the tragic loss of his eldest son.   

We learn why he kept Britain’s promise on overseas aid spending and what it was like to commit British troops to conflicts in Libya, Iraq and Syria. He sets out how he won the first outright Conservative majority in nearly a quarter of a century and describes the events leading up to the EU referendum, the renegotiation, the campaign - and his thoughts on it all today.   

It is the most compelling record yet of what it’s like to lead in modern times and to live behind the most famous door in the world.  

©2019 David Cameron (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"The political memoir of the decade." (Sunday Times

"I praise For the Record with genuine enthusiasm. It is tastily candid about his colleagues...but also about his own mistakes." (Andrew Billen, Times)

"Arresting...Cameron has always been an easy target. But on reading this book, I think it is impossible for any fair-minded observer to doubt that he was a fundamentally decent, well-intentioned man, who did his best to represent Britain on the world stage and left our nation’s economy in a much better state than he found it." (Daily Mail

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Former Prime Minister's sorry monotonic ramblings

It is fair to say that former Prime Minister "Call me Dave" Cameron has had plenty of time on his hands since turning away from his role following the disastrous (for him and the country) Brexit referendum in 2016. He has spent a fair amount of this time in his shed gazing at his naval and writing these rambling memoirs of his time at Eton, Oxford and Westminster and then regurgitating them as this audio book which weighs in at a whopping 30 hours which is roughly twice as long as Tony Blair's memoirs despite being in office half as long.

There is a lot in this book about Cameron's vision for a Big Society and he goes to great lengths to explain what he was attempting to achieve. I am not totally convinced that I completely understand it but it sounds like a noble cause. There is even more narrative regarding the nuances of each and every cabinet reshuffle during his 6 years at Number 10. He talks of his desires to go to war in Syria and how this was thwarted and he talks about his relations with other world leaders. The story of him being affectionately tucked up in bed by Barrack Obama on Air Force One is endearing. He talks lovingly about his wife Samantha who he clearly loves and has kept him grounded as she is, apparently, more down to earth despite being the daughter of a baronet.

It is not until around 23 hours in that he tackles the subject of the Brexit referendum. Dave is an affable chap and he likes to take the middle ground and let everyone have their say on matters. He is a big fan of referenda. There have only ever been four of these in the history of the United Kingdom and three of these were under Dave's leadership. The 2011 Alternative Voting referendum (anyone remember that?) was a success. Then came the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 which again the Government won. By now he was on a roll. In 2015, the UK's membership of the EU just about made it into the top 10 of voters' issues, largely as a result of the far right UKIP banging on about it for so long. Dave decided to made an in/out referendum as manifesto pledge in the 2015 General Election, presumably as negotiating ploy in case he was again in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Dave describes the shock and surprise of himself and the party of winning an outright majority. He was feeling invincible. The economy was booming and the opposition in turmoil. He decided to press ahead with the Brexit referendum not thinking there was any chance of losing. He forgot just one thing, and that was that he had to actually have a credible campaign to prevent the far right from misleading the public with their exaggerated claims of the impact of immigration. Dave expected the opposition to play fairly. They did not. He lost. And with it so did the hopes and dreams of millions of UK citizens who will have their prospects and freedoms curtailed as a result of this sorry episode.

Much of this audio book is delivered in Cameron's clipped monotonic West Oxfordshire diction with the exception of a bizarre Peter Kay impression and an even stranger attempt at a Geordie accent to mimic the voice of ex Newcastle United Chairman John Hall. Dave is not averse to using the "f" word, presumably to make him sound more down to earth. Maybe Samantha suggested this would be good for his image?

84 people found this helpful

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This is an “Exchange your book” front runner!

Far too long & mostly boring! I haven’t read it all . Best sleeping tonic ever.

37 people found this helpful

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self Indulgent

rather self indulgent and typically upper class british in his approach to self promotion. somewhat delusional in his analysis of history and current event where he portrays himself as the hero and everyone else as the villain.

15 people found this helpful

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To all intents and purposes- gripping!

To all intents and purposes- gripping!
Although this book maybe look a little to long winded to pick up, but definitely once your in with Camerons journey it's actually very interesting. It gives a well thought out guided overview of UK political history from Mrs T to current.
David goes in depth of why he took a lot of his political decisions and ther outcomes, eg Europe.
As well as this, he includes some very personal stories, such as times with his disabled first born child Ivan, showing his very human character, pulling in emotions of the listener/Reader.
Nice work Dave!

14 people found this helpful

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Honest account of how Britain was pushed 2disaster

As a keen student of British history and politics I enjoyed the 30 hours of Cameron's defence of his government. It is important for Prime Ministers to account for their times in office.

I give credit to Cameron for maintaining foreign aid and gay marriage. But he will be remembered for stifling Britain's economic recovery and leading Britain out of the EU. For these disastrous decisions, he deserves very harsh criticism. And in 2019 these massive failures are evident everywhere I go in Britain. Homeless people filling our streets, cuts in schools hurting those who need it most.,the NHS struggling to keep going. All this not being dealt with because of the national obsession with Brexit.

Cameron did his best, but his massively privileged background. Boarding school, Eton, Oxford, Conservative HQ, MP and then PM, all meant he was never close to living a normal life. He therefore failed to understand the disastrous effects that austerity would reap on Britain. He barely mentions food banks, the social care crisis and Britain's obesity time bomb, in the book. All made far worse by his government.

Britain will be paying the price of his government's failures for decades to come.

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Didn’t live up to expectation

Less candour and more bluster. Will be better used as a study for how to engage with extensive PR crisis management.

10 people found this helpful

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Honest, wide-ranging, insightful

Mr Cameron takes us through his years as leader of the Conservative Party and those as Prime Minister with almost painful honesty. At times, I felt that his self-flagellation when describing the things that, in 20:20 hindsight he ‘got wrong’. In his defence, I say, quoting IBM‘s TJ Watson: ‘Anyone who makes no mistakes isn’t working’. Yes, Mr Cameron might have done better, but he might have done far worse, as epitomised by Gordon Brown. He tried. He was committed to do the best for the UK.

Samantha deserves a medal for her support, through good times and not so good times, helping her husband through many crises.

Mr C reads his history eloquently and passionately. Good for him.

10 people found this helpful

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Its a keeper

I would recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their politics. David Cameron is open and honest about his time as PM. We get an understanding of his reasoning behind his decisions that worked or not, as well as acknowledging the things which could have been done better. We get David’s understanding of the views of those around him, and a modern look at what goes on behind the door of number 10.
We sea the human side, the things that shaped his views, and the sadness and grief which no parent should go through. We are taken on a journey which gives amazing detail, and we have an amazing look at his life and background. Well worth the 5 star rating.

10 people found this helpful

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Too long

The parts of Cameron’s story which are worth telling are drowned in a thick soup of extraneous detail and poor editing. Although interesting and engaging occasionally, especially those parts around relationships with foreign leaders or fiscal austerity, too much of it reads like the author trying to convince the reader that he has a legacy other than Brexit.

9 people found this helpful

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Just as I suspected!

An interesting read with a few new angles on the life of a former Prime Minister.
He does come across as a person who has spent his life in the Jacuzzi whilst trying to manage the swimming pool.
By that I mean he does not seem to have a real grasp of the vast majorities lives in the UK and operates in a detached state.
He is the perfect example of why we need wiser leaders with a broader experience of the world and others lives.

8 people found this helpful

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  • O. Buraimoh
  • 03-12-19

Excellent book

This has been an excellent listen. I was initially daunted by the 30 hour listening time but I have enjoyed every minute of it. It was frank, funny, highly informative of the inner workings of government and, as a traditional labour voter, I was surprised how down-to-earth it was. Of course the petty politicking was irritating but, for someone who almost never writes a full review of and audiobook, I felt compelled to heap lots of praise on this one.

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  • My Books
  • 27-10-19

Vile and self-serving

I couldn’t get passed the first chapter listening to this self-serving pity party. Big mistake having Cameron voice it. I’m sorry I bought it.