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For the Record summary

David Cameron

An honest account from a prime minister who truly altered his country’s course

4.4 (59 ratings)
31 mins

Brief summary

'For the Record' by David Cameron is a memoir that chronicles his political career and his time as Prime Minister of the UK. He offers insights into his decisions, relationships with other leaders and controversial issues surrounding his tenure.

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    For the Record
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    David Cameron enjoyed an old-fashioned upbringing. 

    Even as a young boy, David Cameron knew he was privileged. 

    His upbringing and education were, by his own admission, something of an English upper-middle-class cliché. His parents had inherited money. After living briefly in Kensington, a well-to-do neighborhood in London, the family moved to a pleasant village called Peasemore, not far from the capital. Cameron’s parents were warm and loving, but nonetheless, he was sent off to boarding school at the age of seven. 

    The boarding school in question, Heatherdown, was tiny and exclusive. Prince Edward was a pupil there. Cameron’s elder brother, Alex, even became friends with the prince and visited him at Windsor Castle.

    The school was rather antiquated. When it was time for baths, Cameron and his fellow pupils would line up, naked, in front of a row of Victorian metal tubs. They had to wait until they heard the headmaster blow his whistle before they were permitted to climb in. The boys then bathed, enveloped in foul-smelling smoke emanating from the headmaster’s ever-present pipe. 

    After Heatherdown, he – like his father and grandfather before him – attended England’s most famous school, Eton College. And there, for a time, he felt rather mediocre. Uninspired by work, he fell in with the wrong crowd. Before he knew it, he was regularly sneaking out with friends to smoke cannabis. Eton is not a normal school, and sneaking out was far from normal also: it involved renting a rowboat and rowing out to an island in the river Thames, where he and friends would roll a joint and get high.

    This habit didn’t last long. Rounded up and interrogated by the headmaster during a school-wide crackdown on drug users, Cameron thought he would be expelled, as several of his friends were. 

    He got away with a lesser punishment – a fine and the enforced, pointless transcription of one of Virgil’s Georgics poems in Latin. Cameron was incredibly relieved and determined to make more of an effort in life. 

    It was a huge turning point. From then on, Cameron was a student transformed. Successful results at Eton led to a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics degree at Oxford. Afterward, in 1988, he found work in the Conservative Party’s research department. 

    Rising through the ranks, Cameron became an adviser to the then-chancellor of the exchequer, Norman Lamont. And while he left Westminster for a brief spell in business, his desire to be in politics never went away. Elected Conservative member of Parliament (MP) for the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney in 2001, he became leader of his party just four years later, in 2005. 

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    What is For the Record about?

    In For the Record (2019), David Cameron gives a behind-the-scenes account of his life, career, and time as prime minister. He opens up about his upper-class upbringing, his school life, and his family. He describes how he tried to push the Conservative Party toward a more modern outlook on the world and reflects on the decisions that led to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. 

    For the Record Review

    For the Record by David Cameron (2019) is an insightful memoir that offers a behind-the-scenes look at his time as UK Prime Minister. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Authentic and candid, Cameron shares his experiences, successes, and failures, providing a unique perspective on political leadership.
    • With unfiltered reflections on key events like the Scottish independence referendum and Brexit, the book offers valuable insights into recent history.
    • It's definitely not boring thanks to the witty anecdotes and personal stories that bring the political landscape to life, making it a captivating read.

    Best quote from For the Record

    I made the pledge because I genuinely thought it was the right thing for Britain.

    —David Cameron
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    Who should read For the Record?

    • Political animals
    • Anyone who wants to understand why Brexit happened 
    • Modern Conservatives

    About the Author

    David Cameron grew up in Berkshire, England, and was educated at Eton College and Oxford University. He was elected as Conservative member of Parliament for Witney in 2001, became party leader in 2005, and served as prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2016. Whatever else he might have achieved in power, he may go down in history as the leader who ushered in Brexit – Britain’s departure from the European Union.

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    For the Record FAQs 

    What is the main message of For the Record?

    The main message of For the Record is an inside look into David Cameron's time as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    How long does it take to read For the Record?

    The reading time for For the Record varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is For the Record a good book? Is it worth reading?

    For the Record is a valuable read for anyone interested in politics and recent history. It provides unique insights from a former British Prime Minister.

    Who is the author of For the Record?

    The author of For the Record is David Cameron.

    What to read after For the Record?

    If you're wondering what to read next after For the Record, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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