Part memoir, part remedy for the state we're in, with liberal sprinklings of common sense, Chris Patten's Not Quite the Diplomat is a frank and funny book from a very outspoken politician.
After spending several years in the thick of international events, Chris Patten has seen rather a lot of the world - and the people who run it. And now he's free from the bonds of diplomacy, he doesn't have to be quite so careful about what he says.
Here he gives us his forthright views on everything from the Tories' downfall to America's empire, from whether Blair has any political convictions to why Britain should start liking the French.
'Masterly, elegant, sprightly, wry ... the best political reading of the year'
James Naughtie, The Times Books of the Year
'A garnering of rich personal experience ... Frank and vivid ... without betraying any confidences or relationships of trust (Sir Christopher Meyer, please note)'
The Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year
'Elegant, warm, witty, stylish and readable ... If politics were sane, appointments to ministerial rank anywhere would be conditional on reading, digesting, understanding and acting upon the wisdom of this book'
'Patten writes with wit, elegance and passion, showing a candour and courage uncommon among politicians'
Chris Patten is currently Chairman of the BBC Trust, and Chancellor of Oxford and Newcastle Universities. He is well known for being the last Governor of Hong Kong 1992-97, about which he wrote in East and West (1998). Both that and his most recent book, Not Quite the Diplomat: Home Truths about World Affairs (2005), were international best-sellers.