Dominic Raab MP on his favourite books
This article is from the July issue of Total Politics
For fiction, I can’t remember enjoying anything more than Tolstoy’s War and Peace, because it is so powerfully written – the characters, themes and narrative stand out.
What’s your least favourite book?
I don’t have one.
What’s your favourite political biography?
I’m not really sure whether it counts as my favourite, but I read Jonathan Aitken’s biography of Nixon recently, and it is fantastic.
It was very well researched and deliberately even-handed, and Aitken didn’t at any time adopt the slanted take, deliberate or inadvertent, of many other biographers.
Who would you like to write a political biography about?
If I had the necessary amount of time and access to do it justice, Deng Xiaoping, because his life personifies the paradoxes of China’s rise.
Name the most significant book in the last 10 years.
Civilization: The West and the Rest. Niall Ferguson brutally asks the right questions about Britain and Europe, particularly as we face a historic crossroads.
What’s your favourite holiday read?
I enjoy biographies. I find them a relaxing way to get into the history of a particular era – Reagan’s autobiography is next on my to-read list.
What was your favourite children’s book?
Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. They are very well written, and they appealed to my curiosity at that age.
What is the most inspiring book you have ever read?
I think Nelson Mandela’s autobiography takes a lot of beating. He had an incredible mix of guts and humility.
What is your favourite book by a politician?
Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy.
What would you like to write a book about?
I vaguely had a project in mind, to try to write some sort of political equivalent of Freakonomics… Something about the law of unintended consequences in political decision-making, and how some problems, especially social ones, just get dumped, almost by default, in certain places. Like prisons and hospitals.
Which fictional character would you be?
Fantastic Mr Fox. I like the way he stuck two fingers up at those draconian farmers.
Dominic Raab is the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton