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You Can't Say That: Memoirs

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A frank, gripping and moving - and controversial - autobiography from one of the most idiosyncratic and effective politicians of the last fifty years. His political convictions, his distance from New Labour, and his direct, plain-speaking style and personality have allowed him to survive longer than any of his contemporaries as a man of principle and influence. From his ec ...more
Hardcover, 500 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Faber & Faber (first published October 24th 2011)
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Jim Bowen
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a combination book. It's a biography of Ken Livingstone's life, coupled with a look at local politics in London and national politics in the Labour party. It really wasn't a bad read.

The book itself is divided into thirds. The first third follows his life till he becomes leader of the GLC. The second third follows his time as leader, an MP and his election as mayor of London. The final third watches (mostly) that period of his life.

The story telling itself wasn't bad. It dragged in
Chris Drew
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well where do I start?
This is quite frankly a brilliant, honest, emotional account of Ken's life. From his early days pre-politics to the Boris years, Ken reveals what things are really like in modern day politics with the elite always trying to suppress the little man with the big ideas. The book has its fair share of shocks, interesting facts and genuine humanity to make it much more than a politics book only to be enjoyed by either students or MPs.
Admittedly, if you don't like politics, you
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
interesting and sometimes witty memoirs of the former mayor of london charting growing up and becoming a councillior through leader of the GLC to MP to the modern date
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the best memoirs I've read because there are so many interesting aspects, he's quite a distinctive personality and this is clearly written by him as, in some places, it is a bit clunky. Whether you agree or disagree with him, we do need more independent minded politicians who can take unpopular, awkward or just plain principled stands on issues.

As someone who thought he personified "the loony left" in the early 80s, I was surprised to be supporting him for Mayor in '99/2000 and wasn't dis
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
At 700 pages this definitely requires commitment, especially as Livingstone seemingly uses it settle every score he can think of. He remembers every vote cast that he disagrees with in internal Labour party meetings, and what he regards as every betrayal of the Labour party and wider movement. This is underscored by a complete lack of magnanimity where he tells us how they met their karmic downfall at a later date.

To be sure, Ken was mistreated and misrepresented by the Labour party, media and w
Sonof Charan
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Completing this book was hindered by the world cup and wimbledon and also because it was an arduous struggle, at times, to get through the detail packed into its pages. Never the less I would thoroughly recommend this book for its honest and candid insight into local and central government. As for Ken, it is inspiring that someone with such integrity survived our political system. It is a crime, that he was kept so perpetually at arms length.

Missing the fith star simply because of the statistica
Tim Dyson
Apr 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
As a political biography it's pretty dire - not once does he admit to a mistake whilst simultaneously suggesting that every worthwhile political decision if the last 30 years was originally his idea. It jumps about all over the place but when allowed to be read as a historical document of London it fairs better and he should have stuck to that rather than trying to constantly impress himself as a national and international politician. His media obsession, despite pleas to the contrary, is clear ...more
Jane Walker
Apr 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: other-non-fic
I have always found that I agree with most of what Livingstone says, and in this book I also found little to disagree with. But I'm not a Londoner. As autobiography this book is inevitably one-sided. He quotes numerous insults and unflattering comments from others, but these seem to be included to show what difficulties he was up against. Undoubtedly the media lied about him incessantly, and it is a tribute to his determination that he wasn't destroyed by all that. By the end of it I still wasn' ...more
Mark Maguire
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One word - EXTRAORDINARY! From start to finish this book was compelling; emotive, and principled in equal measure.

Politicians and indeed, people, with integrity are a dying breed in the current social climate, Ken Livingstone is one of the these rare individuals and his story warrants full attention.

The book is a no punches-pulled assessment of the national political monologue over the period from the late 1960's through to the present day. The banality; incompetence, and duplicity of our poli
Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen
At nearly 700 pages, demanding stuff even for devotees, but if you're after a dissection of the intrigues and subterfuges of local government, Livingstone's second memoir is eye-opening, even if he does appear to be trying to settle every score built up over a 43-year period. As the blurb says, told in a voice that is unmistakably his and not for fans of BoJo, Livingstone does at least have the good grace to quote many of his detractors for a balanced view. ...more
Could have made life easier for himself if he was prepared to make some compromises. Enjoyed it and learned more about the man.
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British Labour politician and former mayor of London.

Livingstone joined the Labour party in 1968 and is considered to be part of the hard-left wing of the party.

In 2000 he was elected for mayor of London.

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