To say I wish I’d read this book sooner is an understatement. For all the political liberal and left wing this book is a must read in trying to cope with the current political climate. For all the politically right wing I urge you to read it to respectfully challenge your own views, not to change them but to understand them. I cannot tell you how much this book made me think and laugh and feel some sense of peace amongst all my anger at the way our world currently is.
You might think that as an ex-politics student my reasons for my interest in this book are dictated by the fact that for the last four/five years of my life I have literally lived and breathed politics, but you would be wrong.
This book was bought for me for my birthday last year by my boyfriend and it just goes to show how well he does know me. An absolute master piece of writing that I demolished in a return train journey from Southampton to Manchester. Honestly, how I had not heard of it until this point is beyond me…
James O’Brien is a writer and broadcaster that I honestly had never heard of (Sorry James) but his position in the media has allowed for him to gather a real first person perspective on just what people think on certain issues.
In the book O’Brien covers everything from Feminism to Political Correctness to Trump. All of which topics people seemingly get angry about (and some with good reason). Its super easy to dip in and out to chapters that appeal to you or do what I did and binge the whole book in a matter of hours whilst sending pictures of pages to your groups chats. The second I put the book down I knew I had to write a post urging people to read it. This book just simply cannot fly under people’s radars. It’s a must read and a must share.
The sarcasm infused chapters make it hard not to chuckle at moments when you feel you ought to cry. The chapter entitled The Age Gap discusses all things Millennial vs Boomer and beyond and I struggled to not relate. Amongst people my age, it’s hard not to feel strong sense of despair when faced with the prospect of buying a house. Just recently my boyfriend and I have been trying to figure out when and how it will be a possibility for us and at what cost too. O’Brien talks of the pang of disgust that millennial’s face when even discretely mentioning how hard it is to buy a home these days. Thankfully he breaks down the maths and it made me breathe a sigh of relief that I hadn’t just been exaggerating the sheer cost.
The book is also dotted with real-life phone conversations from his radio show that give a very honest look at just how some people feel. The amount of times I read one of these conversations and could hear the echo of similar conversations I had had myself was unbelievable; one of the main reasons why I wish I’d read this sooner. People are so quick to get defensive when you challenge previously unchallenged views. I’m big on individual liberty and free speech, but if what you’re saying inciting harm or abuse then expect to be challenged, simple as. O’Brien does this so well and often too well. I wish I had a little pocket James O’Brien to pull out when I need him in politically challenging exchanges.
Ultimately this book is a political enlightenment that I challenge people to read and to not agree with at least half of O’Brien’s perspectives. Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, this book could make you think. I feel I have a fairly solid political grounding and perspective, and yet I felt I had to pause to reflect. Constantly learning and constantly challenging yourself is the only way to not get caught in a place that no longer serves you in society. I know so many people who’s views are outdated, to be clear I’m not saying they are wrong they are just based on a time that we no longer live in.
I try to keep myself somewhat politically neutral in terms on party politics on here, however, this book discusses some of the basic moral dilemmas we seem to be facing in this country and beyond today. Party politics, to me, comes down to moral codes and which party reflects my moral position. O’Brien puts in black and white those moral dilemmas and its hard to look away from the evidence they present.
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