In its coverage of the most prominent characters and events of the referendum campaign and leadership contest, Shipman’s account is one of breathtaking completeness and great accuracy. To read All Out War is to relive the final year of the decades-long EU campaign.
In all the circumstances, Shipman was right to emphasise the central figures, not least to constrain what is already a book of over 600 pages. However, many of the Parliamentarians who struggled resolutely for decades to achieve this result will feel neglected: the work of Sir Bill Cash alone would fill another large volume. The 2015 intake were put through the wringer in their first year, yet some made major contributions, like Anne Marie Trevelyan and Women for Britain, which are not covered. The happy few Leave campaigners in the House of Lords and thousands of activists have their vivid experiences too.
Over the years ahead, memoirs and alternative accounts will provide numerous perspectives on a historic time. Shipman’s narrative and analysis is likely to remain an important reference; it will certainly always be a thumping good read.
As Westminster Co-Chairman of Conservatives for Britain, I kept copious notes. If I were to expand them to a book, I would add detail to the events Shipman covers and enlarge the number of Conservatives featured but few could aspire to cover the story in full as Shipman has.
All Out War is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to understand the full inside story of the EU campaign.