Brought to book: Rosie Cooper MP

Written by 23 Oct 2012 on 23 October 2012 in Culture
"I don’t deal well with being forced to do things": We interview the Labour MP for West Lancashire about her reading habits

This article is from the October 2012 issue of Total Politics

What’s your favourite book?
Trinity by Leon Uris. It’s a history of Ireland from the Great Famine of the 1840s through to the Easter Uprising of 1916, as told through three families – Catholic farmers, Protestant shipyard workers and Anglo-Irish aristocrats. Uris’ books are extensively researched, making them come alive. For someone with family roots in Ireland, this is an incredibly interesting, informative book on a very complex issue. I’ll never forget the description of those who died as a result of the potato famine: “Their mouths green from eating grass”.
What’s your favourite political book or biography?
Hillary Clinton’s autobiography, Living History, is an amazing story of a woman of great strength who has survived the most sustained, vitriolic personal attacks, yet has stuck to what she believes to be right. She was regarded as the most openly empowered presidential wife in American history, save for Eleanor Roosevelt. Now, as the US secretary of state, Hillary is a respected world figure.
Name a book you find significant that has been published in the last 10 years
I’d have to say Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, because it’s a most insightful, enlightening book. As I read it, I began to see how I’d been using a certain approach, as a councillor and now as an MP, to get things done for my constituents. Gladwell captured that, and explained brilliantly how little things can make a big difference.
What’s your least favourite book?
Definitely The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat. As the eldest child of profoundly deaf parents, my teachers were concerned that I preferred factual books, never fiction, and that it might affect my language skills. So, when I was seven, my parents and teachers gave me this Bobbsey Twins title to read. I don’t deal well with being forced to do things, so naturally I detested it and thought it a waste of time. I wouldn’t have minded if the houseboat had sunk on page two...
What’s the most inspiring book you have ever read?
For me, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom is a moving autobiography of a great moral and political leader, which epitomises the triumph of dignity and hope over despair and hatred. I had the privilege of meeting him at his home in South Africa. On leaving, he thanked us for taking the time to visit. It was a gesture that captures the nature of the man. His humility and genuine humanity characterise his book. A giant among us.
Rosie Cooper is the Labour MP for West Lancashire

Tags: Brought to book, Issue 51, Rosie Cooper MP

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