Chris Patten

First Confession
  • First Confession

  • Most politicians write autobiographies to 'set the record straight'. This is a different sort of memoir. Following his life as a self-confessed 'wet European' from parliament to Hong Kong and beyond, Chris Patten creates a meditation on personal and political identity which, in an age of simplification, shows the complexities of both.

    'A defence of liberal conservatism ... If old-style centrism is to stage a comeback and reason to supplant stridency and authoritarianism, be it in west or east, the moderates can wave Patten's book on their way to their barricades' Jonathan Fenby, Financial Times

    'Vivid, very well-written, First Confession joins the highest tier of recent works by British politicians' Paschal Donohoe, Irish Times

    'Draws on his experience of four controversial institutions - the Tory party, the Vatican, the Chinese government and the BBC - to swell the tiny list of intelligent and cultured memoirs by front-line politicians' Mark Lawson, New Statesman, Books of the Year

Chris Patten is currently Chancellor of Oxford University. As a British MP (1979-92) he served as Minister for Overseas Development, Secretary of State for the Environment and Chairman of the Conservative Party, being described afterwards as 'the best Tory Prime Minister we never had' (Observer). He is well known for being the last Governor of Hong Kong (1992-7), about which he wrote in East and West (1998). Both that and his most recent book, Not Quite the Diplomat: Home Truths about World Affairs (2005), were No. 1 international bestsellers. In 2008 he wrote What Next? Surviving the Twenty-First Century. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1998 and a life peer in 2005.


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