I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

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Aged fifteen and armed with a credit card stolen from his father, Jonny Oates ran away from home and boarded a plane to Addis Ababa. His plan? To single-handedly save the Ethiopian people from the devastating 1985 famine. Discovering on arrival that the demand for the assistance of unskilled fifteen-year-old English boys was limited, he learned the hard lesson that you can't just change the world by pure force of will.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden traces Oates's journey through geographies, emotions and politics as he learns that lasting and sustainable change comes from working together rather than standing alone. It leads him to Zimbabwe, where, aged eighteen, he becomes deputy headteacher of a rural secondary school; to South Africa in the final year of Nelson Mandela's presidency, where he works in the first post-apartheid parliament as the country seeks to shape a future from its bitterly divided past; and ultimately to the roller-coaster ride of Britain's first post-war coalition government, where, as Nick Clegg's chief of staff, he helps shape the future of his own country and learns important lessons about the difference between power and duty.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 32mm | 732g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1785905724
  • 9781785905728

Review quote

"Unusually for a political figure, Jonny Oates has written about love: how it tormented him and how it healed him. Few in political life are as candid about the underpinning of what drives them. A gripping tale of escape and rescue, this is the story of the making of a liberal soul." - Gary Gibbon, political editor, Channel 4 News "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden charts the unusual emotional and political journey of Jonny Oates. By turns tender, moving and funny, it is an unflinchingly candid story of teenage rebellion, of love and - above all - of heartfelt compassion. If anyone doubts that there is still a place in politics for exceptional, decent people, this is a book for you." - Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister 2010-15
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About Jonny Oates

Jonny Oates is a former deputy director of communications in 10 Downing Street and was chief of staff to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during the coalition government. Inspired by Band Aid and Live Aid, he ran away from home to Ethiopia in 1985 hoping to help victims of the Ethiopian famine. He subsequently worked as a teacher in Zimbabwe and as a political adviser in South Africa's first post-apartheid parliament. Jonny has twenty-five years' experience in senior communications and advisory roles in the private and public sector both at home and abroad. He is currently a Member of the House of Lords and continues to advise individuals, companies and charities on communications. He lives in south-west London.
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