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Sailing Close to the Wind: Reminiscences

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  123 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Dennis Skinner, the famed Beast of Bolsover, is adored by legions of supporters and respected as well as feared by admiring enemies. Fiery and forthright, with a prodigious recall, Skinner is one of the best-known politicians in Britain. He remains as passionate and committed to the causes he champions as on the first day he entered the House of Commons back in 1970.

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Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2015 by Quercus (first published August 1st 2014)
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Sep 14, 2015 Domhnall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Oscar Wilde famously remarked that if everyone said what they thought, civilised life would be impossible. Dennis Skinner demonstrates the opposite and makes me wish he was not so damned unique.

There is nothing literary or pretentious in this memoir. It is basically a transcript of his thoughts in a form no different to a rambling monologue, something that Dennis Skinner can carry off to perfection. It is not without repetition and redundancy, but neither was Homer and his stuff has survived. S
Dec 14, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's do the Time Warp again...

Now in his eighties and still an active Labour Member of Parliament, it seems to me as if Dennis Skinner has been around forever. Certainly he's been there since Parliament was televised, sitting in his usual seat beside the passage and making his famous quips at the opposition speakers...and sometimes those from his own party too. He claims that he didn't want to write this book of memoirs, but has finally given in to the requests of many people who have enjoyed h
Steve Gillway
Dennis Skinner is like Kinder Scout, something rock solid in a changing world. It seems years ago, maybe around 40, when I sat in a local school classroom with about 10 other people to hear my MP Dennis Skinner. Many of the things he talked about then are here. ; the fact that MPs should treat their job as a proper job and not do other jobs on the side, or pair up with opposition MPS ( so you can have a night off). He even goes so far as to say you can't be a minister or PM because you will let ...more
Amanda Milburn
Jun 11, 2015 Amanda Milburn rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually a fan of biographies but this was absolutely brilliant. Dennis Skinner has led a fascinating life and his anecdotes are by turns witty and laugh out loud funny. We need more politicians like the Beast of Bolsover.
India Nunan
Oct 12, 2016 India Nunan rated it really liked it
Skinner is an absolute inspiration and it's (depressingly) refreshing to read the opinion of such a principled politician who actually lived his life as opposed to just having been a careerist. He illustrates his reasons for despising the Conservatives with powerful examples and descriptions of the miners strikes which characterised the evil of Thatcher and I was definitely encouraged to stand up against the systemic oppression of those below with our current governments policies.
It meant it wa
Tim Swift
Dec 31, 2014 Tim Swift rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jade Heslin
Nov 09, 2015 Jade Heslin rated it liked it
For a book about politics, this was actually alright. This autobiography was the selection for my book club and I hadn’t heard of Dennis Skinner ‘The Beast of Bolsover’ before. The impression I get is that he is a thoroughly nice chap who fought for some very good causes. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book.
Despite voting Labour, I have always found politics tedious – I didn’t really think that reading about parliament could be interesting. The enjoyable thing about this book is that the stor
Mar 31, 2015 Kim rated it did not like it
This was not a book I would have read had it not been the allocated book for our BookChat Group as I am not a fan of the author's politics. Putting that to one side, the book itself was very disappointing for me - I expected a memoir, telling me about the author's background and life - there was some of this but mostly it was a political 'rant' against the Tories, capitalism, the Royal Family, the House of Lords etc., occasionally repetitive (the exact same sentences being repeated at one point ...more
Steve Bennett
Dec 14, 2015 Steve Bennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
A wholly committed MP who gives you some restoration of the respect we ought to have for all MPs. I found it a page-turner style read but got a little confused in some of the chapters where it seemed to hop quickly from one thing to another. I think I perhaps prefer a diary type approach but nevertheless great insights into a lifetime of commitment to the cause. I fear for Labour when his (unreconstructed) kind disappear completely which is, alas, probably a consequence of the primary battle he ...more
Keith Walters
Jan 03, 2015 Keith Walters rated it liked it
Not a full blown autobiography but selected reminiscences. Good to hear the leftwing view laid out and also a reminder that not only right wingers are anti Europe.Makes it seem a shame that he was always so sidelined in his quest to remain true to his roots.I like his recommendations about MPs not pairing (it's their job to be there), no overseas jaunts, his republicanism and straightforward anti trident approach.
On a publishing front this could have done with more editing (two typos in first f
Steven Haythorne
May 09, 2016 Steven Haythorne rated it it was ok
As a writer, Dennis Skinner is a wonderful politician. As a huge fan and admirer, this book was a huge disappointment. Some nice anecdotes but sadly poorly written. Having said that it was worth buying for his description of George Osborne as "a man educated well beyond his ability". I still love Dennis despite this book, not because of it.
Mar 28, 2016 Pinko rated it liked it
I was expecting a little bit more from Dennis. A bit rambling at times, but it does have its moments. Interesting to note that Dennis remains anti-EU. Also interesting is that it reveals that Dennis knows how to be a team player and a good one at that
Riley Cox
May 31, 2016 Riley Cox rated it liked it
Love the man dearly and his politics are close to mine but he's an orator not a writer. Essentially, he's written it exactly as he would have said it which I did enjoy but it was, at times, a bit incoherent. I'm not personally big on autobiographies at all so I can't give it a higher star rating.
Dec 29, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
A proper Labour MP,a working class hero! The likes that we may never see again, in this era of the professional polictian.
A great book.
Matthew Purvis
Dec 14, 2015 Matthew Purvis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read about a political survivor. I think the published book is called 'sailing close to the wind'
Steve Cornforth
Mar 29, 2016 Steve Cornforth rated it really liked it
A great autobigraphy from the most entertaining and committed MP of them all.

He may be the Beast of Boslover but you would want him on your side!
Sep 15, 2015 Simon rated it it was ok
Interesting as a historical source, but I'm worried if the repetition of many points is a sign of dementia in the poor guy.
May 08, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Dennis Skinner (the one who recently called David Cameron Dodgy Dave), a man who sticks to his principles and is so honest. This is a brilliant book, very witty and so revealing.
Jeff rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2015
Jenwren rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2016
Mr Peter Spearink
Mr Peter Spearink rated it it was amazing
Dec 14, 2015
Dominic rated it liked it
Apr 18, 2015
Marzia rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2015
Dave Marriott
Dec 14, 2015 Dave Marriott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book
Kevin Wallace
Kevin Wallace rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2015
Chris Sharman
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Jul 03, 2016
Julie rated it it was amazing
Jul 21, 2015
William Cleary
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Jan 20, 2016
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Mar 23, 2016
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Tyler Turner rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2016
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“Timing is always crucial in delivering a jibe. John Major thought he’d won the football pools when he succeeded Thatcher. At his first Prime Minister’s Questions, the Tories cheered wildly. He rose to his feet and in the split-second hush between his MPs falling silent and Major uttering his first words I yelled: ‘Resign!’ There was utter pandemonium.” 0 likes
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