Robin Cook: Principles and Power
Author: John Williams
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Robin Cook’s early death robbed British politics of one of its most distinctive and principled stars. Ten years on, his struggle to reconcile those principles with the realities of power remains as relevant as ever.
In this intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait, John Williams, who as press secretary was at Robin’s side during three dramatic and turbulent years as Foreign Secretary, shows the reality of a man of strong beliefs facing the compromises and accomodations of New Labour. He reveals the inner workings of modern power-politics, from the European Union to Palestine. And he reflects on what today’s politicians – and voters – can learn from Robin Cook: a man who believed that, despite everything, politics can still be a force for good.
"Robin Cook: Principles and Power” is a must read for scholars, practitioners and “laypeople” alike. It provides a ring-side seat into the sense and sensibility dilemas of British Foreign Secretary the late Robin Cook during the early and challenging Blair years as he worked with his Press Secretary John Williams and dealt with Sandline International, Kosovo and Sierra Leone, to mention but a few. William’s golden pen is cast expertly across energetic chapters which ooze eloquent prose like honey and vividly illuminate Cook’s personal and professional life. It is a compelling case study of two men’s close relationship as one advised and spoke truth to power and the other wrestled internally and externally to do the right thing. As such it is the sort of book press people must read and press secretaries will wish they had read. It is a significant contribution to the literature about how Cook utilized information in support of government outcomes and it should be included in strategic communication (media) research and academic study, and considered a handbook of lessons to be learned." Professor Robert (Bob) A. Sharp OBE, Virginia