‘The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power’ by Alex Nunns wins the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2017

26 Jun

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing as ‘The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power’ by Alex Nunns and published by OR Books.

The judges greatly appreciated this exploration of the deep roots of the Corbyn phenomenon. In The Candidate, Nunns shows that Corbyn’s victories weren’t the accidental consequence of other candidates’ failures, but were built on the work of an energised, thoughtful and committed movement of citizen-campaigners.

Cogent, optimistic, well-written and thoroughly researched, this hugely topical book records with great intimacy and insight an historical moment whose lessons mustn’t be forgotten, while also exposing the persistent forces which continue to work against social change.

Alex Nunn’s was awarded the prize and a cheque for £500 by guest judge Joan Anim-Addo at this year’s London Radical Bookfair, hosted as ever by the ARB. This year’s prize money has been generously granted by the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Guest judge Joan Anim-Addo presents Alex Nunn’s with the award.

Alex Nunns with the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2017

Photos by Asya Gefter http://asyagefter.com

Book summary

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 Telegraph, “to turn Britain into Zimbabwe.”

How this remarkable twist of events came about is the subject of Alex Nunns’ highly readable and richly researched account. Drawing on first-hand interviews with those involved in the campaign, including its most senior figures, Nunns traces the origins of Corbyn’s victory in the dissatisfaction with Blairism stirred by the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crash, the move to the left of the trade unions, and changes in the electoral rules of the Labour Party that turned out to be surreally at odds with the intentions of those who introduced them. The system of one-member-one-vote, which delivered Corbyn’s success, was opposed by those on the left and was heralded by Tony Blair who described it as “a long overdue reform that… I should have done myself.”

Giving full justice to the dramatic swings and nail-biting tensions of an extraordinary summer in UK politics, Nunns’ telling of a story that has received widespread attention but little understanding is as illuminating as it is entertaining. He teases out a plotline of such improbability that it would be unusable in a work of fiction, providing the first convincing explanation of a remarkable phenomenon with enormous consequences for the left in Britain and beyond.

For more info please visit the OR Book website:

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