The Blurb On The Back:
Protest against injustice.
Campaign for change.
Vote for your future.
This is the practical guide you’ve been waiting for. Find out how politics really works and spark a revolution with our activist’s toolkit.
This book will help you change the world.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
In this uneven and at times condescending book (illustrated by Alice Skinner) that seems skewered towards the left wing and is aimed at teenagers, TV reporter Sue Turton sets out a description of the UK political system and then more successfully describes the various ways that teenagers can engage with it through debating and campaigning in order to try and change it.
The most problematic parts of the book for me were the descriptions of the main British political parties because I felt that the summaries of what the parties stood for were overly simplistic and, as written, made it seem that Labour was the only party that wants to help poor people, which I thought was quite reductive. This is a shame because I admired the scope of this book with Turton taking on subjects such as political scandals, lobbying, civil disobedience and the all-important fake news crisis and she also looks at structural issues including different voting systems and the work that MPs do (where she is even-handed).
The strongest parts of the book relate to campaigning, although I do wonder to what extent teenagers will be better informed than her about how to make an impact on social media. I particularly liked how she uses examples of real campaigners, notably the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement and the use of examples and real life events does help to flesh out the themes and bring pace and colour. However, at times I felt that the tone of the book was a little condescending (e.g. in relation to populism and extremism) and I wasn’t particularly taken with the illustrations, which I thought were too simplistic.
All in all, I do applaud the desire to get teenagers interested and active in politics because that can only ever be a good thing so it’s worth checking this out as a starting point but I suspect that any teenagers interested enough in politics to read this would already be active and engaged.
Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.