Political autobiography is normally defined as a work of fiction by the author, about the author. Rarely do we find examples of 'good autobiography'. Indeed, it would be easier to draw up a list of Top Ten Worst Political Memoirs. This list is a list of my own personal favourites.
1. Memoirs - Richard Nixon
Nixon is one of the finest political writers in recent history. His books 'Leaders', 'Six Crises', and 'In the Arena' should be required reading for any aspiring politician. His memoirs are a remarkable work of literature.
2. Path to Power - Margaret Thatcher
More readable and more human than the accompanying 'Downing Street Years' volume. This book covers her life up to 1979.
3. View from Number Eleven - Nigel Lawson
Huge book with perhaps a liitle too much economics for my liking, but a fantastic record of the Thatcher government.
4. Here Today Gone Tomorrow - John Nott
The best autobiography I had the pleasure of publishing as Politico's. Searingly honest, laced with wicked humour, and great political insight.
5. Time of my Life - Denis Healey
My favourite Labour memoir - charcteristically truculent, funny and honest.
6. Time to Declare - David Owen
I have always been rather a fan of David Owen, who I have always regarded as a pseudo-Tory. He had many failings but this book is not one of them.
7. Memoirs - John Major
A surprising bestseller. Very readable, and sometimes extremely bitchy.
8. A Life at the Centre - Roy Jenkins
Elegant, as you would expect. perhaps not quite so honest about his personal life as he might have been, but we await Andrew Adonis's official biography for that sort of detail!
9. Just in Time - Sir John Hoskyns
If I had to recommend one book to David Cameron to read, this would be it. It tells of Hoskyns time advising the Thatcher Opposition and the problems he and they encountered.
10.A Memoir - Barbara Bush
Hugely enjoyable by one of my favourite political spouses. Behind the grandmotherly exterior lay a spine of iron. She leaves no hostages to fortune in this charming book.