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The paragraph in question, from the fateful night in when he took over as Labour leader after the untimely death of John Smith, describes a tender moment with his wife: "That night she cradled me in her arms and soothed me I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength.
I was an animal following my instinct.
There's a propensity to use exclamation marks like a teenage girl with enthusiasm and great abundance and the text is also peppered with anecdotal non-sequiturs; when he's outlining the roles of his inner political team he breaks off to talk about the time he did 29 headers with Kevin Keagan. Of the two most anticipated subjects, Iraq and his relationship with PM-in-waiting Gordon Brown, he was never going to fully satisfy the appetites of our collective expectation. On Iraq, he devotes three chapters to the unfolding nightmare and his political reasoning behind it.
He recognises it's an argument that can be disputed and most people, as he points out, do , but he makes a clearly constructed case nonetheless. It's also one he roots in the interventionist policy of the Kosovo and Sierra Leone operations, which were not met with the same level of angry protestation.
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On his relationship with Gordon Brown, he's candid but steers away from outright hostility. You get a sense of disappointment about the inability of the two camps within the government to come together. Of the supposed 'deal' to hand over power to Brown, he admits there was one - but in the election, not ; and he only delayed his exit to further embed the policies he felt a Brown administration would drop.
It's a book that was badly in need of editing - the frequency of the phrase "As I say," being the key indicator that he's saying the same thing far too often. And, like the dust-jacket image that is inexplicably ever so slightly out of focus, you can't help feeling the prose inside is similarly blurred - as a first-person analysis of a period of history is always going to be. Bizarrely, Blair has been accused of plagiarising from a fictional account of his life, when he writes that the Queen remarked, "You are my tenth prime minister.
The first was Winston. That was before you were born. Whether that casts doubt on the truthfulness of the book is up to the reader.
What you're left with is a portrait of a man who truly believes he acted in the best interests of the electorate, and a politician who genuinely wanted to change the way government operated. Whether you applaud his achievements in the Northern Irish peace process, the introduction of legislation that made Britain a more egalitarian society; or, dismiss his 10 years in power as a failed promise or, worse, an abuse of power - to hear it from the horse's mouth is compelling.
Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, wrote this book. It's about his period as leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister mostly , though he does mentions the parts of his earlier life, as it fits into the story he wanted to tell. To be honest, I found this book smug and slightly infuriating. I've now read both George Bush's and Tony Blair's book I was interested in the run up to war and this book was without a shadow of a doubt the more irritating of the two.
In the book Blair describes himself as a moralist with a vision "for good" who changed the Labour for moral reasons, and started wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and Kosovo for much the same reason. I found his thinking about Kosovo perhaps the most illuminating part of the book.
His and Bill Clinton's use of the armed forces in Kosovo enabled him to liberate Kosovans and bring down a tyrant in Milosovic. Part of me wonders whether this changed his thinking towards the potential effectiveness of military action that lead him to Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know for sure, but I honestly think it does, and that's a shame because it clearly went horribly wrong the second time round for him. Anyway, why do I spend so much time talking about war and Blair?
Well, let's face it, that's why I suspect that people will read the book. It's also because Blair spends a lot of the book writing about it. Consequently it's work mentioning. But what's the rest of the book like?
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Well, as I said, it's smug. Blair talks a lot about "moral force" and "moral vision. Blair, on the other hand was presented as "less that way. Reading this book forced me to compare what I had seen him present then and what he presents now, and it grated. If you don't know Blair as well or can put up with how he presents himself, you'll probably learn something from this book.
If you do know Blair or find "ostentatious morality" irritating you might find this book irritating or want to throw the book across the room. Everyone who lived through this era should read Tony Blair's book on his years in office. Blair uses the book to give his view of what he was trying to and did achieve, and what his motives were. He never forgets that he is human, frail, and can be mistaken in his views although his willingness to admit he could be wrong grew markedly less when he wrote about the final two years in office.
I had believed that President Bush knew there were no "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq, Everyone who lived through this era should read Tony Blair's book on his years in office. Blair makes a strong case for why they believed what they did at the time. Reading the "inside" story makes one even more fearful of the news media and their power to distort a story.
Blair dissects the reasons that the news media turns ordinary facts into controversy. By telling the sometimes more "ho hum" facts of what happened, you see how the media's need for conflict and crisis led to destructive accusations and outright lies. One of my favorite expressions came near the end of the book, when in a phrase only someone familiar with the Bible would understand he described certain people's blind and ultimately self-destructive following of a political leader as "gadarene"!
Google it! You don't have to like Tony Blair or agree with his politics to enjoy having an insiders' view of what went on during the Blair years The audio book is an abridged version of the book. View 1 comment. You can agree or disagree with Tony Blair and you can question his quest for - as another book title says - a legacy. But in my humble opinion, he is still one of the most charismatic leaders the world has seen in a long time - and combine that with his eloquence, flair for a good argument, modern view on UK and the world and his willingness to act the latter is a long lost trait in many politicians today , and you have a world class leader.
In this book, he is honest - as honest as You can agree or disagree with Tony Blair and you can question his quest for - as another book title says - a legacy. In this book, he is honest - as honest as a autobiography can be - about his reasons for doing what he did, and he somehow even manages to explain his insistence and stubbornness with the UK electorate in the latter period of his time as prime minister. An impressive guy, a tour de force in the art of argumentation and reasoning, a candid view on the world and the forces shaping it.
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I'd definitely recommend this book, even to his opponents. This maybe a good book to read because of its layback style, if not for its politics that must be revealing in itself. Reviewers are pointing to the unexpected, chatty way he says things which is not at all expected from an Oxford-educated politician. Sep 10, Hywel Owen rated it it was ok.