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The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn's Improbable Path to Power

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In September 2015 an earthquake shook the foundations of British politics. Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong and uncompromising socialist, was elected to head the Labour Party. Corbyn didn’t just win the leadership contest, he trounced his opponents. The establishment was aghast. The official opposition now had as its leader a man with a plan, according to the conservative Daily T ...more
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 390 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by OR Books (first published 2016)
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Andy Walker
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant and insightful book. And so far, it's the definitive account of how Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party and the grassroots mass rising of support that propelled him there. Largely concentrating on Corbyn's first campaign for the leadership in 2015, (the second failed coup against him in the summer of 2016 is covered briefly in a final chapter) this book is the ideal antidote to all the rubbish that has been written in the mainstream media about Corbyn and his supp ...more
Bryn Hammond
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story so unlikely it’s almost worth reading for the sake of the tale, or the plot: a series of unlikely events that simply weren’t meant to happen and in real life don’t often do. Nunns knows he has good material here, and he knows what to do with it.

Documentary-style account of Jeremy Corbyn’s candidacy for the Labour leadership – just the candidacy, with an afterword on the leadership challenge nine months down the track. 30% of my ebook turned out to be notes, but it’s still quite
Deborah Maccoby
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book can be enjoyed on several levels, which all work together. On the most primitive level, it tells a wonderful story. The tale of Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to power is the stuff of fairy stories – the complete outsider whose candidature in a contest is regarded as a joke, but who wins the top prize. The tale is a gripping one: getting Corbyn on to the ballot with literally seconds to spare; the sudden unexpected taking off of his campaign; the hysterical attempts by horrified New Labour polit ...more
Richard Murphy
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-25
Now I am biased in terms of my political make up, so I was always going to enjoy this. However I have not scored it 5 points because I agree with the politics, its also a 5* book because its so detailed about what has happened in the UK in the past couple of years, and its another avenue to try and find that information outside of the normal mainstream elite that did nothing but mock the man the book talks about. However as he himself would say, he may have been the front man, but it was the mov ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
The Left has always conceded too much to the Right - and New Labour was the logical outcome of decades of doing so. But Corbyn reversed that trend - and this book tells that story, firstly in the context of the Labour Leadership Election of 2015; and, secondly, in the context of the snap General Election of 2017.

As a man who put himself forward as a left candidate in the Labour leadership campaign for the simple reason of not wanting Blairite Centrists to dominate the leadership candidate debat
Sharon Jacobs
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some passages moved me to tears, others made me so angry I had to stop reading. There were even stretches that went into too much detail for me but this book provides a valuable resource for modern historians. It is also a shocking indictment of the ‘right ‘ of the Labour Party who should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
I've never been to Britain, nor followed UK politics with any great consistency, and hence the obsessive intensity with which I read this book took me back - I would never have thought I'd be interested in the intricacies and details of the internal politics of a party. I think the reason I was so taken with this book was because I like underdog stories, and this was an unbelievably good example of that. Nunns tells his story well, and his open partisanship towards Corbyn is a delight. It's like ...more
John Gribbin
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superd, definitive account of the Corbyn phenomenon. Essentially reading for British people. Now we need an updated version to cover 2017!
Peter Stopford
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming to this book as someone with left leaning politics and a general admiration for what Corbyn stands for, it was inevitably going to be an enjoyable read. But it went far beyond my expectations as Alex Nunns, despite also not shrouding his partisan party politics, uses evidence objectively throughout to shed light on Labour’s place in British politics from 2010-2017.

The book’s start is great, informing the reader about the conditions that served as pretext for a left Labour leader candidac
Jonah Wolff
The best thing I can say about this book is that it is a well-researched account of Jeremy Corbyn's two leadership election had Labour's 2017 general election campaign. It deepened my understanding of how all of that came together. However, Nunns makes it clear early on that Team Corbyn is right, everyone else is either malicious or stupid, and there is no room to believe anything else. The rare times when we hear from either Conservative voices or voices from the more centrist part of Labour, t ...more
Lukrezia Cosimo
I have been wanting to read this book for ages, but I finally got round to ordering it after hearing Alex Nunns read from the new edition across a video line at the first Labour Germany AGM a month or so back. The author was fascinating to listen to. He obviously knows Labour and the UK political scene inside out and seemed to be able to answer any question thrown at him. So I opened the book with high expectations, and they were not disappointed. A rare political book from a left standpoint tha ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent history & analysis of the improbable rise of Jeremy Corbyn to Leader of the Labour Party, which does not merely recount the chain of events which led from the decline of New Labour to its reinvigorated showing in the 2017 election, but carefully collates and theorizes upon the historical trajectories, economic conditions, and social movements which made possible. A refreshing mix of narrative history, political science, and social theory, I recommend it to anyone interested in UK po ...more
John Williams
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story that explores the extremely challenging journey to power of a rank outsider who defied the odds to become the Leader of the Labour Party who actually went on to win the contest comfortably despite opposition from many from his own party and the media.
The book is inspirational and offers hope to those who strongly believe that if they stand firm by their convictions then they can achieve their goals despite overwhelming challenges and also with such an abundance of information (
Ailith Twinning
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This is the first "Election Narrative" I've found both genuinely entertaining and inspiring. But Sanders got shafted, Trump's. . .Trump, Clinton is a Neo-Liberal robot, Bush was Coronated and Obama is an outright traitor to the people. I'm not off-hand familiar with UK politics in general, but I tried to read a couple on the PMs of my lifetime and they were. . .slimy. The books I mean.

So - cheers to that man. Really surprised I liked this, tho I did already like Corbyn. And I like Corbyn more n
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this ages ago but goodreads doesn’t have the revised edition page counts...

It’s a strong narrative - detailing the first and second leadership elections, the referendum and last years general election. It was very useful for background and context to union politics and influence and the different factions at play.

It’s a broadly sympathetic book by someone who clearly supports Corbyn, but maintains enough critical distance for this not to become a problem.

A solid read that’s useful to
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Candidate is an immensely readable and informative chronicle of Jeremy Corbyn's rise to Labour Party leadership in 2015. Munns gets all the right interviews, especially those who won the social-media wars.

The book is brilliant in outlining the organizational changes in how Labour leaders are elected. In many ways, this story is a case study in unanticipated consequences for the New Labour backers. This proved even more true in 2016, when the parliamentary caucus attempted to reassert its tra
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this - it was written so well that it felt like I was living through the whole thing again but this time with more insight as to how the whole situation began and progressed. Horrified by the behaviour of some of the Labour MPs which was every bit as bad as ot appeared to be. Amazed by the steadfastness of Corbyn and the people around him. Am sure this story will continue to be remarkable but Alex Nunns did a great job of letting us in to some of it.
Gus Booth
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive and detailed look at how Jeremy Corbyn and the lefty movement he represents have come to power within the Labour Party. Nunns' documentary approach works very well in telling the story. A good read for anyone interested in modern politics & the inner workings of political parties, doubly so for those looking to find hope in anti-austerity candidates or learn about how political power can still be derived from the people (ground-up style). ...more
Alejandro Shirvani
Gripping read, real insider track on the Corbyn story and there was a lot of material in here which I had not heard before from the regular press. The book shows how much internal opposition within the Labour party Corbyn had to deal with even as leader, and how he faced obstacles trying to derail him at every corner. Also makes a convincing argument for the reasons behind Corbyn's rise.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received through GoodReads First Reads for reviewing - thanks you.

Really brilliant book that gives a clearer understanding of Corbyn's rise to leader of the Labour Party. I'm not a Corbynite, and have no love for the Labour Party, but I have an interest in the sphere of British politics and this book was a fascinating and insightful read.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed it immensely. Well written if somewhat tendentious but that doesn't detract from the meticulous research and fascinating facts that refute the dark and often childishly clumsy media paintings of Corbyn. I've always thought him decent and with integrity but now I actually like him a lot more. Good writing on a decent man.
Sylvia Clare
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent account of how the politics in the UK took a sudden turn for the better, how it was sabotaged from within and how it could have actually won if that had not happened, but fascinating inside info and for me a compelling read.
Nadir Ahmed
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping read

A gripping insider account of Corbyn’s rise to power and the 2017 GE. Paints a fascinating picture of the behind-the-scenes machinations and the groundswell of support that propelled him to power and resulted in a completely unpredicted GE result.
Steve Cornforth
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent accoubnt of Jeremy Corbyn's remarkable rise to the Labour Party leadership
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An indispensable book on Corbyn and the recent trends in the Labour Left. A must read for Americans who want to understand left-wing electoral politics across the pond
James Munro
May 17, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this after the 2019 General Election is hilarious.
Josh Tipple
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read and very informative especially with what has happened since.
Mark Edon
Fascinating insight into remarkable U.K. history.

Filled with references and links this story shows you the facts and let’s you judge for yourself.

Staggering hypocrisy, incompetence, outright lying and deceit, perpetrated by the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Party machine and almost the entire U.K. media against party members.

A fascinating account.

Jude Brigley
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly informative, well-researched book with a great deal of detail. It analyses the factors which resulted in Corbyn's leadership of the Labour party. The book gives a lot of insight into politics in Britain and lots of information which gives a clear picture of factors and reasons for the way politics has gone recently. This is recommended for anyone interested in modern politics and of course those who are interested in the Labour party. It is a detailed work of intelligent comment ...more
Old Bob
Jan 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Under Corbyn anti semitism became embedded within the Labour Party.
We had the unprecedented sight of British Jews planning to emigrate if Labour won the election and Corbyn became Prime Minister.
His fall from grace is no surprise considering this and also his support for terrorist groups over the decades
Having said that it is interesting (but also frightening) how someone so dangerous can can get so close to power so this book is worth reading.
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