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The End Of The Party

4.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  374 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Andrew Rawnsley's bestselling and award-winning "Servants of the People" was acclaimed across all media as the most authoritative and entertaining account of New Labour and its first term in office. As one reviewer put it, 'Rawnsley's ability to unearth revelation at the highest level of government may leave you suspecting that there are bugs in the vases at Number 10'. "T ...more
Hardcover, 801 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Paul Bryant
Oct 01, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
Just a note to say that hey, the Labour party has just elected a new leader. He's a Jewish atheist who lives with his female partner but isn't married. Rock & roll?



Two brothers, sons of the king, grow up in the Palace. The younger brother, Antonio, is blessed with charm, is fair of face and has a golden tongue. The people love him. The older, Gordano, studies hard, knows by heart all the laws of the land, but y
Oct 09, 2015 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This superbly written and highly detailed tome has the capacity, like many books about the New Labour project, to leave you wringing your hands in rage and frustration. It’s fundamentally depressing to see how little core belief there was at the centre. Whereas Clement Atlee (the first Labour Prime Minister to win a majority) came in and changed the entire social fabric of the country, Blair and Brown ran a government of headlines. It didn’t matter what the consequences actually were, or whether ...more
Oct 17, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2013
Rawnsley has studied in detail the second and third terms of the New Labour project and has interviewed hundreds of politicians and civil servants both on and off the record.

This a monumental book in physical size and scope. The main focus of his gaze is the towering icons of Blair and Brown. This pair, along with Mandleson created the New Labour project and made the party electable. Even as they were still celebrating the win of the second election the cracks in the veneer were starting to show
Peter Kobryn
Sep 13, 2015 Peter Kobryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
A comprehensive view behind the scenes of 10 Downing Street and its occupants between 2001 and 2010 this is a superb read for anyone with interests in British politics.

Starting from Labour's second successive landslide in 2001 this work by the excellent Andrew Rawnsley goes into fine detail about the way in which both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown managed their premierships.

Extensive and detailed sources help Rawnsley to provide astonishing insight into the happenings of the time, the determinatio
Jul 05, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
The End of the Party by Andrew Rawnsley is a history of England’s Labour Party in the first decade of the millennium. Rawnsley focuses on Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown in their attempt to achieve the New Labour Revolution and the reasons why, in the end, they fell so short of the dream. He is an excellent writer who gives a lively accounting while remaining, at least to my perception, straightforward and unbiased.

I was most interested by his account of the charismatic Tony Blair whose energy
Rob Manwaring
Jul 12, 2010 Rob Manwaring rated it really liked it
Tells the story of New labour from the second landslide election win in 2001, with a focus on the build up to the invasion of Iraq. It's hard to know whether to laugh, cry or curl up in a foetal position as you wince your way through some quite unbearable incidents...

This is a whopper of a book, and indeed is probably too long. Rawnsley has so many sources, and so many cross-referenced that the same point is often repeatedly made but from each different 'insider', which detracts from the overal
Feb 08, 2011 Nigel rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book which was very well referenced. It gives a very detailed analysis of the workings of the last Labour government from 2001 until its final death throes. It shows the strengths and weaknesses of the major characters in the government during the period. Although it is structured to follow the main chronology of events it is not written like a diary. Its chapters focus on the main events of each period and there are many overlaps because of that. But this really helps the r ...more
Apr 19, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
This is by far the best book about New Labour and the politics of the first decade of the new century that I have read. And I've read a few. Forget the self-serving and deliberately obfuscating memoirs of Campbell, Darling and Blair himself. It takes a proper journalist to cut through the layers of flannel to get to a version of the truth that is almost believable. This is the first account I've read, for example, the leaves you with no doubt of the division between Blair and Brown, demonstratin ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Gerald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book didn't tell me much about Blair I hadn't suspected. The whole period through the Iraq war was very much the 'Phony Tony', 'Bliar' I always figured him for... Rawnsley portrays him as someone who acts first and thinks later.

Whereas Brown thinks, then acts, then thinks some more, changes his mind, thinks more, dithers a bit longer, before finally acting only after the issue is all strained of any actual substance.

It seems like a very fair portrayal and meets with other secriptions of how
Mark Holmes
Feb 09, 2012 Mark Holmes rated it it was amazing
Simply one of the best books I have ever read - from any genre.

My interests in politics has lead me to read other works which basically confirm many of the observations Rawnsley develops. Even if you are not overtly interested in politics, the way our leaders behave in the name of power is quite simply breathtaking.

After starting their reign in power on a reasonable sure-footing, the unravelling is something else. It is almost Shakesperean with its tragic elements. Blair is revealed to be weak
Aug 16, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it
It was apparent to anyone paying much attention during the Labour years that at the heart of our government was a deep personal animosity between Tony Blair and his Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. What wasn't so readily apparent is just how much it affected the day to day running of the country.

Rawnsley's book is incisive, seems well-sourced, is engagingly written and reveals an abscess in the heart of Westminster. The extent to which the relationship between the two most powerful men
Matthew Ball
Jan 02, 2013 Matthew Ball rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book certainly isn't short at 800-odd pages, so it is just as well that all blurb on the cover to the effect that it is a real page-turner is justified. Rawnsley creates a real sense of drama, and even tragedy, out of the story of Britain's Labour Government from its re-election in 2001 to its final defeat in 2010.

This book doesn't pretend in the slightest to be a general, or even a political, history of Britain in those years. Its focus is rather on the personal relations and political inf
Jun 04, 2013 Adrian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The End of The Party

To cut straight to the most important point, End of The Party is absolutely unputdownable.
Here we have, in one volume, a complete, detailed, penetrating, but most of all, highly readable, account of one of the most tumultuous, controversial, and interesting periods in modern British political history.
The two strengths are, firstly, it’s a work of investigative journalism, and therefore, has more insider scoops than you are likely to find elsewhere. Secondly, it’s highly reada
Richard Barnes
Oct 01, 2014 Richard Barnes rated it it was amazing
A terrific account of the second half of New Labour. It's a gripping tale of colossal egos, a few great achievements and some enormous, grand and disastrous follies.

Rawnsley's narrative is superb - explaining how the character traits of Blair and Brown contributed to their best and their worst moments.

There is triumph and tragedy aplenty here - the inner workings of Numbers 10 & 11 Downing Street are laid bare, with exceptional sources providing honest and brutal accounts.
Carolyn Roberts
Jan 23, 2016 Carolyn Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a fascinating book this: it covers the highs and lows of the Labour party, from the minimum wage and the Human Rights Act to Iraq and the subsequent disintegration of New Labour. Very harsh on Gordon Brown, but his sources seem well established so difficult to doubt the picture he paints. Amazing dysfunction at the heart of government if the Blair/Brown relationship was as bad as presented here (their rows were known as the TB/GBs, apparently).
Ben Cullimore
Dec 14, 2015 Ben Cullimore rated it it was amazing
As previously mentioned in my review of Servants of the People, the first of his two books on New Labour, Andrew Rawnsley is one of Britain's most admired and talented journalists. As a result, The End of the Party is another wonderful account of the governments of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, with a particular emphasis on the complex and fiery relationship that the two men shared as their dream started to collapse around them. Rawnsley's exposés on the latter are particularly eye-opening, ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Tom rated it it was amazing
Engaging, thoughtful, and fascinating, Rawnsley's acerbic wit and superior command of the English language, along with his ridiculous, hysterical, and ultimately revealing anecdotes, make for a damning indictment of New Labour in Britain.
Ray Martin
Jul 03, 2016 Ray Martin rated it it was amazing
Very insightful. Makes me think that in reality politicians & governments are largely making it up on the hoof following events rather than shaping them. Also what a tough job it is running a country in a democracy.
Aug 22, 2010 Rhino75 rated it really liked it
I liked Rawnsley's first book on the rise of New Labour so much, I almost felt obliged to read his version of the party's decline and fall. I have to say I found it much more of a slog to get through than the previous volume - partly just because of the amount of ground it covers but also, I felt, because for some reason or other best known to them the publishers hadn't given it the edit it needed (is it me, or does this happen more and more?). Certainly Rawnsley's gift for spinning a compelling ...more
Aron Edwards
May 01, 2014 Aron Edwards rated it it was amazing
Fascinating account of the Labour party, that largely seems to avoid a bias, definitely worth a read.
David Cheshire
How on earth did ace-pragmatist Blair morph into a conviction politician and prophet of global interventionism in bed with Bush and the neocons? And how did fellow New Labour architect and brilliant chancellor Brown turn into such a shambolic, terminal Prime Minister? This is contemporary history at its best. It offers both the insider view of the stories you gawped at on 24 hour news at the time, and a genuine sense of historical perspective. Getting an historical sense of our own times is a to ...more
Sarah Harkness
Nov 06, 2011 Sarah Harkness rated it really liked it
compulsive reading....appallingly fascinating. In future years this will undoubtedly be a prime source for historians - and if there is any bias, it must match my own preferences (ie mostly very admiring of Blair while aware of his weaknesses, but vicious about Brown and his circle) as I didn't disagree with any of rawnsley's conclusions. But you cant help but think how awful it would be to be Brown's sons reading this about their father in 20 years time....
Robert Cooke
Aug 30, 2015 Robert Cooke rated it really liked it
Compelling insight into the heart of New Labour, the end of the Blair followed by the staggeringly incompetent and bullying Brown years. Fascinating
Gareth Evans
May 13, 2013 Gareth Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb - a serious book in all regards - seriously large (760 pages plus of very small print) and a serious subject (seriously handled). The writing is superb - complex topics are handled extremely clearly, there is the right blend between anecdote and 'plot' and, occasionally, it is laugh-out-loud funny. Always engrossing, occasionally jaw dropping, this book offers wonderful insights into the last 2 terms of the labour government.
Jane Walker
Aug 05, 2012 Jane Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While it's tempting to regard this as the definitive history of the later stages of New Labour, we should remember that Rawnsley is a journalist with his own perspective. However, I doubt there can be much argument about his accuracy. Perhaps the most disturbing thing to emerge from it (as from most accounts of government) is that a Prime Minister becomes an autocrat.
Stuart Townsend
Aug 27, 2012 Stuart Townsend rated it really liked it
If anyone wanted to know how corrupt, despicable and contemptible the socialist government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was - here is the book. Politicians get a bad press - and they deserve it in spades. There is no sign of any goodness in these people - they want power and will do ANYTHING to hold onto it - and all with out money.
Kevin Coaker
Jun 09, 2015 Kevin Coaker rated it really liked it
Comprehensive depiction of the New Labour years, that i read as an accompaniment to GE2015. In many ways this is a Shakespearian tragedy, as two powerful forces lock horns. Brown, Balls and Ed Miliband do not come out of it well.

And already it seems surreal that for 13 years Labour were the natural form of government.
Mar 31, 2010 Johnthorpe rated it liked it
Only 200 pages into this - half way through Iraq and the endlessly screwed up relationship with Brown and Blair.

It's just a very long piece of journalism - lots of incident but no analysis or synthesis which gets wearing.
Jul 08, 2011 Jane rated it it was amazing
Took me ages to read, off and on, having borrowed it froma friend I was feeling rather guilty. But a really detailed, well researched and readable book about the later Blair years and Brown's time as Prime Minister.
Sep 15, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book highly enough - an absolutely brilliant history of New Labour 2001-2010. Already these events seem like a lifetime away...
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