a sobering and well researched look at the roots and branches of power in British society I would be interested to see how much the weight of power has shifted in the last 10 years or so, with and going to the banking elites and away from everyday people. Anthony Sampson Has Spent Years Dissecting The Power Structure, With Unique Access To People At The Top, To Produce His Best Selling Anatomies Of Britain Now In This Intensely Topical Book, He Surveys A Much Troubled Scene With Anger And Impatience He Looks At The Whole Panoply Of Power, From An Embattled Number Ten To The Murky Intelligence Spooks, From Corporate Boardrooms To Banks And Pension Funds Who Runs This Placeis Written Not Just For Those Inside The Westminster Bubble It Is Addressed In Fresh And Vivid Terms To Those Who Need To Understand The Institutions And Careers They Are Choosing, And The Bosses Who Will Influence Their Whole Future And It Comes At A Time When The British People Are Clamoring To Comprehend The Secretive Groups That Pull The Levers, Behind The Facades I read this a few years ago, and much of Anthony Sampson s critique of unwelcome developments in Britain s economic and political structures seems particularly relevant in the light of the events that have since followed I wonder if he s released an updated version Might be time to dust off my copy for a re read. Soberly fascinating in its well researchedness. The Entreprise spirit, the will, History background check of England A must read for all fans of politics who want to know about the real anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century. After a reasonably promising start, I was a bit disappointed with this book I was drawn to it by Anthony Sampson s fine reputation but it didn t quite stack up that way, at least until the final chapter.My first reason for disappointment is altogether a shortcoming on my own part, and is no reflection on Sampson It is, quite simply, that he died as long ago as 2004 I didn t know I had allowed myself to be swayed in part by the blurb on the cover Cutting Edge Andrew Marr Well, I m not sure which edge he found so cutting, but its time has surely passed to a degree.I m not sure it was ever there anyway On reflection, the book comes across as an update of earlier analyses of contemporary Britain, incisive when they was first written, but which did not somehow survive the attempt to update That may or may not be fair but that s how it feels.In the early chapters it does indeed come across like an analysis of contemporary politics, and one s only regret therefore is that the last ten years have brought huge and accelerating change in our ever changing society Pity then, that he died at that point, as his views on Cameron s government would have been interesting, to say nothing of the shifts in society from a relatively uniform white nation to a multi coloured country and even less about the attitudinal shifts which probably make such a simple statement less politically correct than it would have been only ten years ago.In the second half, as he moves beyond talking about government and investigates the private sector, the banks, the lawyers, and so on it becomes of an inventory than an analysis The early chapters speak of chasing the will o the wisp of power in Britain, and his insights into politics and especially Blair s governments are interesting But in the latter chapters it is a case of lists of who is chairman of which organisation, and how much money they are taking home.By the end I was tired of his relentless attacks on the ability of these fat cats If his account is to be believed, pretty much every top manager that ever ran a British company was is hopelessly out of touch, and largely useless Sorry Anthony, I don t care how socialist your views, or how excessive their emoluments are well, I do but not in this context They can t possibly all be that awful, or the UK economy would be languishing somewhere behind Greece.The final chapter is, finally, an interesting analysis of that missing bigger picture Who runs Britain He makes an interesting and persuasive case for arguing that we are all still paying the price for Blair s relentless centralising of power, and unaccountably at that and flirts from time to time with the concept that this very process of power shifting was is a product of much deeper movements of the tectonic plates, as society and the wider world rub against each other That would have been well worth writing about But I don t think he quite makes it first, through nor fault of his own, the book is out of date already in 2015 as the first decade of the millennium has produced fundamental and accelerating change everywhere and second, it s as if the fact of writing his fine series of earlier Anatomies of Britain is a handicap better to write from scratch about how power works than to update earlier concepts with lists of who does what. To be honest, I didn t read this book all the way through I didn t read the last fifty pages or so because I read this book for an exam and didn t have time to finish it before the exam day It was not bad as far as course books go, but I still didn t feel like finishing it on my free time This book is a pretty good guide to politics in Britain It doesn t only cover the actual government and the political parties, but Sampson also comments on, how people such as academics, big business owners and bankers use power in Britain I had little knowledge of British politics when I started this book, but I was able to understand everything quite well Therefore, I dare say it s easy to follow What I did not necessarily like was all that trivial information about the politicians, business CEOs and other people the book discussed While I admit that learning about the hobbies and interests of all those people made the book interesting to read, that was, of course, all I remembered in the exam D Well, that s probably my fault It was just much easier to remember that someone is interested in birds than that this oil company merged with that oil company I also think I should mention that if you are looking for a book that covers the politics in the 21st century Britain, this is not your book I think the last year discussed in this book was 2003 or 2004.
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- 432 pages
- Who Runs This Place?: Anatomy of Britain Revisited
- Anthony Sampson
- 06 June 2019 Anthony Sampson