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This Land: The Story of a Movement

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  426 ratings  ·  74 reviews
We live in an age of upheaval. The global crisis of Covid-19 has laid bare the deep social and economic inequalities which were the toxic legacy of austerity. These revolutionary times are an opportunity for a radical rethink of Britain as we know it, as the politically impossible suddenly becomes imaginable.

And yet, the Left's last attempt to upend the established order
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published September 24th 2020 by Penguin
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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May 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
3.5 stars
An honest and illuminating account of the British left since 2015 and the entirely accidental election of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party. Probably the most reluctant leader of any party we have had and certainly the most unprepared. Jones is a left wing journalist who is very much a part of the left of the Labour party, so he is not neutral, but his analysis is mostly spot on. There are exceptions to that and this is a contentious book.
There is a clear analysis of the
Emily Davies (libraryofcalliope)
Owen Jones' new book, This Land: The Story of a Movement, is an overview of the events of the last decade in the left political landscape with a particular focus on the Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party. I joined the Labour Party in 2015, part of the huge amount of members who joined after being inspired by Jeremy Corbyn and his vision, and as of 2020, I have since left. My decision to leave was due to several factors all of which I won't detail here. I was generally quite well vers ...more
Lena B
Oct 14, 2020 added it
can't stop thinking about the fact that Jeremy Corbyn would wear a green suit (which his staff told him he's not allowed to wear) when he was having a bad day to let everyone know that he's upset ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The number one best-selling author of Chavs and The Establishment returns with an urgent, revelatory account of where the left - and Britain - goes next. On 12th December 2019, the left died. That at least was the view of much of Britain's media and political establishment, who saw the electoral defeat of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party as the damning repudiation of everything it stood for. Yet, just over four years previously, the election of Corbyn as Labour leader seemed like a sea-change in pol ...more
Kate Vane
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Owen Jones' journalism, even if I don't agree with him. This is a very readable account of the Corbyn project. Jones is both observer and participant, as someone in sympathy with Jeremy Corbyn's aims and a former worker in John McDonnell's office. However, while writing from that perspective, he gives a balanced account of the strengths and weaknesses of the Corbyn operation and the people and groups that both supported and attempted to sabotage the project.

The book is organised t
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Rounding up from 3.5. Jones covers Labour's Corbyn in a very readable, journalistic style and he has a number of close contacts in the party - indeed, with his links to John McDonnell he was in the room for some major events.

It's clear that Corbyn is a decent man, completely ill-suited for leading a political party and surrounded by people not equipped to run a 21st Century campaign - not helped by several members of the PLP and HQ actively wanting Corbyn to fail. Indeed from my own limited expe
Jon Bounds
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Owen Jones gives an meticulous, balanced and insightful history of Corbyn leadership. It’s engaging even if you know how the story went - and does have some things that only Owen would know, given his access and contact (he came up with the word ‘lexit’, who knew?).

It doesn’t feel like the story of a movement, though, focused as it is in the upper circles of politics. 2017 was indeed a movement, 2019 felt like we were still there on the ground, working harder if anything, but if we were the mov
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
With everything that has happened in 2020, the General Election in December 2019 seems like a very long time ago. What ended up as a decisive victory for Boris Johnson concurrently resulted in the end of the road for Jeremy Corbyn's unexpected leadership of the Labour Party. In This Land, Owen Jones provides an insider's perspective into the Labour Party and critically analyses the successes and failures of the Corbyn years.

Being familiar with Owen Jones' work as a journalist, I was keen to read
Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen
If, like me, you were an enthusiastic participant in the Corbyn project, or even just wanted to see a Labour victory in December 2019's UK general election, this is a painful but fair-minded read. An early champion of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party, Jones charts how Corbyn mobilised thousands of enthusiastic supporters with a bold, radical program that offered genuine change, but once in power was beset by internal wrangling and incompetence, as well as external pressures from a ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh God, the Labour HQ staff trying to destroy their own party, the lifelong Labour voters switching to the Tories in 2019, the disorganisation of Corbyn and his team... what a horror book
Imogen Moore
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Owen Jones provides a very informative and interesting read following the rise and fall of the labour left. I myself have been a vocal leftie and an avid supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. That being said what I love about Jone’s book is that he doesn’t sugarcoat this and blame just the opposition. He points to the failures of the party and mistakes that they made themselves. Highlighting the issues the leadership had to face from all angles, external and internal.

It’s a brutal read, I was having flas
Lou Barber
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Land examines the rise of Corbynism after a long period of Tory government with its focus on austerity, and charts the rise and ultimately, the demise, of what could have been a new dawn in politics. Owen Jones writes with passion and integrity and gives a balanced account of this period in Labour's history.

Jeremy Corbyn never had any ambitions to be the Labour Leader. A backbencher passionate about foreign policy and a man of principle, he found himself thrust into the limelight in a race
Tristan Eagling
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
I vividly remember where I was when in 2015 when I read Owen jones's Guardian article,Jeremy Corbyn is in the Labour leadership race. The real debate starts here . The article, I believe, set in motion a series of unlikely but weirdly inevitable events, which saw the meteoric rise of a 200-1 political outsider, and his slow , excruciating fall.

It makes sense therefore, that Owen Jones, as one of the chief architects of the Corbyn project holds the pen on telling it's story. I am sure this was no
Martin Lennon
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This account of the Corbyn project has got a lot less attention than 'Left Out' but I think it will stand the test of time much better.

Gets less bogged down in gossipy 'he said/she said' and puts the Corbyn years in the context that lead up to 2015 and the wider politics of 2015-20.

I've go no idea why it's called This Land though. Suspect Jones has a mood board of epic sounding lefty titles somewhere and this got picked off at random.
James Sandell
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Owen Jones has done it again - a fascinating and absorbing no-holds-barred account of the rise and fall of the greatest PM we never had, Jeremy Corbyn.

In addition, the dust jacket can double up as an excellent tissue to mop up one’s tears as we inevitably face another generation of Conservative race-baiting and kid-starving.
Ryan Carter
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wanted to give Corbyn a hug after reading this...
Jan 03, 2021 added it
Disheartening but interesting. The book strikes a good balance between understanding the horrendous pressure the Corbyn project was subject to, and frankly acknowledging its mistakes and failings.
I J Haworth
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it
A Brave Attempt to Understand Calamity

Owen Jones is not a reliable narrator on a subject that's so close to his heart: the Corbyn "project" and the left-wing Labour attempt to seize control of the Labour party and the country, a project he's dedicated every second of the last four years of his personal and professional life to achieve. Even so, he gamely attempts to explain what went right and wrong during the four years of Corbyn's often hapless leadership.

He doesn't spare the inner circle in
Alistair Candlin
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Well written, and well read. I listened with whispersync on Amazon - Jones reading the audiobook along with the kindle edition. Great way to read a book actually- Amazon are branding it as ‘full immersion’ which is a bit corny but nevertheless it’s a nice set up - the sentences being read are highlighted on kindle and the pages turned automatically.

Jones describes the Labour Party since Milliband losing the 2015 election. My take away points are: It was amazing that Corbyn got elected leader in
May 30, 2021 rated it did not like it
One prevalent idea suggest that at a basic level there were two "corbynisms" one youthful, dynamic, and intelligent, centred around John McDonnell, the other older, conspiracy minded, and crankish, centred around Seumas Milne and a collection of angry bloggers. It was then a very charming irony to watch over the last few years as the prescriptions and analysis of the second group was proven right on every measure while the supposedly tactically astute McDonnellites sent the party into the wilder ...more
Adrian Wilson
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am fairly au fait with British politics and was very much on the periphery of the Corbyn Project as it was happening; I generally liked the ideas coming out of the Corbyn camp but had many reservations about the man himself and who he surrounded himself with. As an outsider, I greatly appreciated this retrospective from one of the key players, Owen Jones, a political commentator I agree with most of the time and whose previous two books I enjoyed.

This Land is an insider look of Jeremy Corbyn's
Steven Feldman
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like Owen Jones’ writing even if I usually don’t agree with him! I’m sure if he knew me he would feel equally strongly opposed to my views but then that is what happens in a “broad church”, he might think Labour would be better off if it was less broad and I would argue for more breadth (I’d call it electability). Enough about my politics.

This Land: The Story of a Movement is more than just the story of the Corbyn era, it sets Corbyn in the long struggle between the different poles of the Labo
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Owen Jones has given a fascinating and often eye-opening (and occasionally jaw-dropping) account of Jeremy Corbyn's tenure as Labour party leader, under attack from without and within. We are all only too familiar with the despicable behaviour of the right-wing press (Jones says "attacking Labour leaders is a blood sport for the British press" - he's not wrong, and Corbyn's character was assassinated on a daily basis), but the attitude of some Labour Party staffers, as reported here, is also ala ...more
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was written quickly, as the author admits in the opening pages. It mentions the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, and the events the book relates only ended at the end of 2019, with the UK’s last general election.
I like to read books and articles from different sides of the political spectrum, as I think understanding those you disagree with is important for a nuanced debate.
With This Land though, I’m not sure what the point of the books is. Owen Jones is a left-wing journalist who
Ali Khosravi
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
As it was released almost alongside 'Left Out' as an early draft of the very recent history (if not a post mortem), it will always be compared to it. Though it covers the entirety of the Corbyn leadership, unlike Left Out which covers only the gap between the 2017 to 2019 elections. So it's a kind of 'rise and fall', rather than 'the decline and fall'.

It isn't a history written by a distant observer, but rather a kind of autobiography of a semi involved actor. With that in mind, I couldn't help
Kate Page
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this. Jones writes really well, and it was an absorbing read.
Briefly, I thought the strength of the book was as an inside view into the workings of the Labour party leadership under Corbyn, and the ins and outs of the 2017 and 2019 elections. Jones was closely involved and connected to central players, so can offer a particular view.  It worked as a reminder of events and a fascinating insight into the parliamentary LP. 
I thought it was weaker as an overall political analysis,
May 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020s, politics
How many leftists does it take to change a lightbulb? Ten. One leftist to change the lightbulb, and nine to criticise her on twitter.

I remember reading a tweet a while ago that argued that The Thick of It poisoned British politics by convincing nasty party staffers that their bullying was “epic Malcolm Tucker shit”. This was specifically in response to the leaked messages from a Blairite WhatsApp group within Labour HQ that talked about physical violence against “Trots” (Corbynistas) and gleeful
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Reading this after a shambolic year for the tories in office and seeing first hand the devastating effects of Brexit (big ouch rn lol) this book was depressing, frustrating and honestly a vital read for anyone with interest in the past and future of Britain’s left.

I am probably the ideal audience for this book hence perhaps the too high of a rating. But in truth I’m not always a fan of Owen’s journalism so it’s not entirely a blinded read!! Being too young to vote in the referendum and the 2015
Vincent Thurgood
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Owen Jones manages a difficult task well, in this history of the rise and fall of Corbynism within the Labour Party. He is an observer-participant and a close associate of John McDonnell, who he sees as the person who should have assumed the Leader's role after the initial successes of Corbyn and who may have been able to navigate the difficulties of the last election, though I personally feel by that stage it was an impossible task because of the polarisation of politics over the Brexit referen ...more
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
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