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About The Book

'God I wish Rachel was prime minister... Reading it is like being invited to a deliciously gossipy party' Marina Hyde
'Fabulously indiscreet and funny...I loved it' Gaby Hinsliff, Observer

'There will be weightier political tomes this year than Rake’s Progress, but you will not read one more entertaining' Roger Alton, Daily Mail
'Spectacular. The only honest thing I've ever read about political campaigning' P.J.O'Rourke

A unique, revealing and entertaining insight into the political dramas of recent times.

Rachel Johnson was born into what has been described by some as the UK’s most famous political family, and by others as ‘Poundshop Kennedys’. She was always keen to avoid the family business at all costs and plough her own furrow as a broadcaster, novelist and journalist. But, after the referendum to leave the EU in 2016, she felt the heavy hand of fate. When an insurgent centre party burst onto the scene in 2019, she felt compelled to stand for something rather than nothing – which happened to be just as her own older brother, Boris, was making his final assault on Downing Street. As some joked, she went into politics to spend more time with her family.

Rake’s Progress tells the extraordinary story of what happened next. From long silences on the radio when asked tricky policy questions to loud curses from David Cameron during tennis matches, Rachel reveals all about her brief political career. Taking on Ann Widdecombe and the Brexit Party, would she and her party make history – or become a forgotten footnote in the rolling omnishambles of British politics?

Beyond her own story, Rake’s Progress highlights the importance of standing up for your beliefs and the challenges of life in the public eye, and takes the reader behind the scenes, from the campaign trail to the ‘Westminster bubble’ and the carpeted corridors of power. Written with great honesty and self-deprecating humour, this is a book that reveals the very human side of politics.

About The Author

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Rachel Johnson was born in 1965 and, after reading Greats at Oxford University, became the first female graduate trainee at the Financial Times. She has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, and was the editor of The Lady for three years. She is an internationally bestselling novelist as well as a broadcaster. She is a panellist on Sky News's The Pledge debate show and has appeared on shows including Have I Got News For You, Question Time and Celebrity Big Brother, where she also lost to Ann Widdecombe. Married with three children, she lives in West London and Somerset.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (March 19, 2020)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471190414

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Raves and Reviews

'God I wish Rachel was prime minister. She is at her funniest telling jokes against herself, and this story is packed with them on every page. In fact, I shrieked throughout her clever book, which is populated by some of the ghastliest people in the country, several of whom are not members of her own family. Reading it is like being invited to a deliciously gossipy party, with the wonderful benefit of not having to actually meet in person any of the complete horrors involved. Rachel is one of my very favourite picaresque heroines, who sees the humour in every situation – a gift as much as a necessity in her life.'

– Marina Hyde

'Fabulously indiscreet and funny...I should have loathed this book, but I'm afraid I loved it. It is sheer gossipy joy, the perfect escape from a fug of coronavirus anxiety...The definition of guilty pleasure'

– Gaby Hinsliff, Observer

'There will be weightier political tomes this year than Rake’s Progress, but you will not read one more entertaining. Johnson is a gifted writer, playful, self-deprecating and far more talented than she gives herself credit for....a wonderfully funny account of Rachel’s arrival into political activism as a passionate pro-European.'

– Roger Alton, Daily Mail

'Spectacular. The only honest thing I've ever read about political campaigning. Rachel Johnson, compelled by broad moral principle and close personal involvement, descends from the bright air of feature journalism to the dark ground of practical politics... After reading Rake’s Progress you’ll never think of running for office the same way. Indeed, you’ll never think of running for office at all.'

– P.J.O'Rourke

'I’m bats about her marvellous writing'

– Jilly Cooper

'A riot and a riveting read about one woman's doomed battle against Brexit from within the Prime Minister's own family.'

– Amanda Craig

'This memoir is remarkable for its radical honesty.'

– David Sexton, Evening Standard

'Reads more like a romp than a political tome...There is a lot of fun here, though, largely because Rachel is not worried about causing offence.'

– Rosamund Irwin, Sunday Times

'A terrific read'

– Emily Maitlis

'Incredibly funny and indiscreet'

– India Knight

'Love them or loathe them, the British answer to the Kennedys...are never beige. Entertaining.'

– Patrick Kidd, The Times

'Rake’s Progress is about how she failed to get herself elected at the same time as her brother Boris strolled effortlessly into Number 10. It’s full of slapstick and faux pas and nearly-missed planes...What she gives us is a wildly entertaining look at the workings of British democracy'

– Frances Wilson, The Oldie

'Very funny and self deprecating and there's a lot about the Johnson family, who provide a lot of entertainment for the author and us all. Highly recommended.'

– Iain Dale

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