Category: Long listsTTTT

Hugh Brogan

It is now 200 years since the birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, French aristocrat, liberal politician and writer of genius whose great works, Democracy in America and the Ancien Regime, are ever more influential and discussed.

As the son of a noble family which was nearly wiped out in the Revolution and as an ambitious politician during the July Monarchy and the Second Republic, he had a front seat at the revolutionary drama of his time. His writings are hugely valuable for the study of French, British and American society during his life (he visited the US in 1831 to gather material). It is Brogan’s long held ambition to write this biography. No one has yet attempted a biography of de Tocqueville in the English tradition and for that reason he is not fully present to the public imagination rather than an intellectual monument. This superb work will put that right.

The judges said:

A touching vivid portrait of the thought and times and life of one of the most important thinkers about America, whose work is still some of the most powerful and still relevant. A book that really explores the thought in the context of the life – and a careful portrait of de Tocqueville’s important and difficult marriage – a stunner.

Justin Webb

Justin Webb is one of the presenters of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. He joined the BBC as a graduate trainee in 1984 working in Northern Ireland for BBC Radio Ulster based in Belfast, before becoming a reporter on the Today programme.

After leaving Today, he worked as a foreign affairs correspondent based in London covering news around the world. He then presented the BBC news – moving from Breakfast to the Six O’Clock News – during which time he interviewed prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair.

There then followed three years working as the BBC’s Europe correspondent based in Brussels before being posted to Washington as the chief radio correspondent, and then BBC North America editor, in 2001.

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Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely writes on social, ethical and religious issues. He is a former executive editor of the Independent on Sunday and of The Sunday Times News Review. He has previously reported from over 30 countries and was the Africa correspondent for The Times. He has written a number of books including Bad Samaritans: First World Ethics and Third World Debt and Promised Lands, a study of land reform in the Philippines, Brazil and Eritrea. He is the editor of The New Politics: Catholic Social Teaching for the 21st Century and A Place of Redemption: a Christian approach to punishment and prison.

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Alec Russell

Alec Russell is the commentand anlysis editor of the Financial Times, having previously been world news editor. He started his career as a journalist in Romania in the aftermath of the December 1989 revolution. He was in Bosnia and Croatia during the war from 1991 to 1993 and then spent five years based in South Africa as the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent.  He then became the paper’s foreign editor for the Iraq War. In 2007 he returned to South Africa for the Financial Times for a second stint.

Alec has written three books: Prejudice and Plum Brandy, about his time in the Balkans; Big Men, Little Men, a reflection on his time in South Africa in the mid 90s; and After Mandela, about South Africa under Mbeki. His writing has won several awards and his dispatches from southern Africa have earned him nominations for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and for British foreign correspondent of the year.

Submitted articles

  • Softly, softly: Mbeki seeks ways to limit chaos to the north and tensions within
  • No end in sight Zimbabwe groans amid shortages and spiralling inflation
  • A long journey
  • Fenced in: Why land reform in South Africa is losing its pace
  • The new colonialists
  • The left-leaning Zulu

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Mary Riddell

Mary Riddell is an assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph, where she is a columnist and political interviewer. A former deputy editor of Today, she has written for a number of national newspapers, including The Observer, on social, constitutional and foreign affairs, as well as covering criminal justice and Westminster politics. Her writing awards include Interviewer of the Year in the British Press Awards and a commendation in the feature-writing category. She has twice been named legal journalist of the year by the Bar Council and has previously been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism (2008).

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Andrew Rawnsley

Andrew Rawnsley is associate editor and chief political columnist for The Observer. He has also broadcast regularly, most recently The Sunday Edition on ITV and Radio 4’s Westminster Hour. He has written two books: the Orwell Prize-shortlisted Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour and The End of the Party.

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Henry Porter

As well as writing a column for The Observer, Henry Porter has published six novels, including the recent The Dying Light and Brandenburg (which won the Ian Fleming Crime Writers’ Association Steel Dagger as the best thriller of 2005). He has also written one non-fiction title, Lies Damned Lies, a study of truthfulness in British journalism. He has written for the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and the Evening Standard. He is the London editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

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Bronwen Maddox

Bronwen Maddox is Chief Foreign Commentator of The Times, in which she writes the World Briefing. From 1996 to 1999, she was the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief and US Editor. Previously, she was at the Financial Times, where she was an investigative reporter.

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Anton La Guardia

A former diplomatic editor of the Daily Telegraph, Anton La Guardia is currently Defence and Security Editor of The Economist. He has also written a book, Holy Land, Unholy War about the bitter struggle between Palestinians and Israelis, in an attempt to disentangle myths and realities.

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Clive James

Clive James is a writer, poet, essayist, commentator and broadcaster. Amongst many newspapers and magazine James has written for The Listener, the New Statesman, the Review, The Observer, The Guardian, the LRB, The Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement.

He has created and presented television and radio programmes including Fame in the Twentieth Century, and the Postcard series. He wrote his first book of autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs in 1979.

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Longlisted for work published by the New Statesman.

Martin Bright began his journalistic career writing in very simple English for a magazine aimed at French school children. This experience has informed his style ever since. He worked for the BBC World Service, and The Guardian before joining The Observer as Education Correspondent. He went on to become Home Affairs Editor before becoming the New Statesman’s political editor in 2005. He left the New Statesman in January 2009, and started blogging on He was appointed political editor of the Jewish Chronicle in August 2009.

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Graham Stewart

Drawing on a wide range of historical examples, Graham Stewart explores the intriguing question of whether friendship can survive the pressures of public life. He examines in detail three relationships from across centuries and nations to illustrate how people in power cope with the pleasures and pitfalls of friendship in public life.

His first example, Courtiers, tells the story of Queen Anne and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and shows how the introduction of a new ‘favourite’ can ensure a powerfully jealous reaction from the long standing friend who is displaced. His second example, Revolutionaries, relates the tale of one of the United States’ greatest Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and his relationship with his longest serving political partner, Joseph Galloway. Here were two ambitious men whose friendship was broken in bitterness by divided loyalties during the American War of Independence. The third example, Liberals, brings us back to Britain and the friendship between Herbert Henry Asquith and his best friend Richard Burdon Haldane. Their relationship helped ensure that one became Prime Minister and the other Lord Chancellor, but as Stewart sums up ‘with success came harsh political necessities, and only one of them was marked out to pay the sacrifice.’ Indeed it is Stewart’s view that ‘great leaders usually find that when they reach the summit they are alone.’

We see how single-mindedness, indeed selfishness, appears a necessary quality in the scramble for preferment and how friendship can so quickly turn into rivalry. Incisive and thought-provoking, Friendship & Betrayal is a fascinating examination of an age old dilemma that continues to animate public life today.

Clive Stafford Smith

Explosively personal account by a British lawyer who defends Death Row prisoners and Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Clive Stafford Smith is the 46-year-old human-rights lawyer who has famously – some would say notoriously – spent more than twenty years in the United States representing prisoners on Death Row. His clients include many detainees in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and he established the London-based charity Reprieve, developed to defending human rights in 1999. His book is quite simply, devastating, and many will laugh and cry reading it: laugh in disbelief, and cry in despair at the utter inhumanity and lack of imagination wrapped up in hypocrisy so enormous that it beggars understanding.

Yet even in the face of insurmountable odds, Clive Stafford Smith remains an optimist. Few could maintain his capacity for work and his commitment to his clients if he allowed frustration or despair to divert him. His experiences, graphically recounted in this book, have enabled him to shine a bright, unblinking light into the darkest corners of illegality that are being justified by governments in the name of the War on Terror.

Timothy Phillips

Tim Phillips’ book tells the human story of the siege – of the terrible toll that thirst, hunger and sleeplessness took on the hostages, of the bravery of those who dealt with the terrorists, such as the elderly headmistress of the school and the doctor who tried to relieve the suffering of the young children. Phillips also looks at the authorities’ response to the siege and finds it severely wanting. He has spent time in Beslan researching the book, talking to those involved and those affected, listening to the conspiracy theories, and trying to set the events of September 2004 in their wider context of centuries of conflict and enmity in the Caucasus.

Andrew Marr

A History of Modern Britain confronts head-on the victory of shopping over politics. It tells the story of how the great political visions of New Jerusalem or a second Elizabethan Age, rival idealisms, came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity and self-gratification. In each decade, political leaders think they know what they are doing, but find themselves confounded. Every time, the British people turn out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.

Throughout, Britain is a country on the edge – first of invasion, then of bankruptcy, then on the vulnerable front line of the Cold War and later in the forefront of the great opening up of capital and migration now reshaping the world. This history follows all the political and economic stories, but deals too with comedy, cars, the war against homosexuals, Sixties anarchists, oil-men and punks, Margaret Thatcher’s wonderful good luck, political lies and the true heroes of British theatre.

Mark Lynas

An eye-opening and vital account of the future of our earth, and our civilisation, if current rates of global warming persist, by the highly acclaimed author of High Tide.

Picture yourself a few decades from now, in a world in which average temperatures are three degrees higher than they are now. On the edge of Greenland, rivers ten times the size of the Amazon are gushing off the ice sheet into the north Atlantic. Displaced victims of North Africa’s drought establish a new colony on Greenland’s southern tip, one of the few inhabitable areas not already crowded with environmental refugees. Vast pumping systems keep the water out of most of Holland, but the residents of Bangladesh and the Nile Delta enjoy no such protection. Meanwhile, in New York, a Category 5-plus superstorm pushes through the narrows between Staten Island and Brooklyn, devastating waterside areas from Long Island to Manhattan. Pakistan, crippled by drought brought on by disappearing Himalayan glaciers, sees 27 million farmers flee to refugee camps in neighbouring India. Its desperate government prepares a last-ditch attempt to increase the flow of the Indus river by bombing half-constructed Indian dams in Kashmir. The Pakistani president authorises the use of nuclear weapons in the case of an Indian military counter-strike. But the biggest story of all comes from South America, where a conflagration of truly epic proportions has begun to consume the Amazon…

Alien as it all sounds, Mark Lynas’s incredible new book is not science-fiction; nor is it sensationalist. The title, Six Degrees, refers to the terrifying possibility that average temperatures will rise by up to six degrees within the next hundred years. This is the first time we have had a reliable picture of how the collapse of our civilisation will unfold unless urgent action is taken. Most vitally, Lynas’s book serves to highlight the fact that the world of 2100 doesn’t have to be one of horror and chaos. With a little foresight, some intelligent strategic planning, and a reasonable dose of good luck, we can at least halt the catastrophic trend into which we have fallen – but the time to act is now.

Marina Lewycka

A field of strawberries in Kent…

And sitting in it two caravans – one for the men and one for the women. The residents are from all over: miner’s son Andriy is from the old Ukraine, while sexy young Irina is from the new: they eye each other warily. There are the Poles Tomasz and Yola, two Chinese girls and Emanuel from Malawi. They’re all here to pick strawberries in England’s green and pleasant land.

But these days England’s not so pleasant for immigrants. Not with Russian gangster-wannabes like Vulk, who’s taken a shine to Irina and thinks kidnapping is a wooing strategy. And so Andriy – who really doesn’t fancy Irina, honest – must set off in search of that girl he’s not in love with.