The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The hotly anticipated memoir of one of New Labour’s three founding architects.Peter Mandelson is one of the most influential politicians of modern times. The Third Man is his story – of a life played out in the backroom and then on the frontline of the Labour Party during its unprecedented three terms in government.Much of the book is devoted to the defining political rela...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published July 15th 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 399)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Brian
This was an interesting read, albeit a long one. I found Mandelson a much more sympathetic character than I expected. One good thing - compared to the autobiography of another 'Labour' leader, he did not hold his constituents in complete contempt. Indeed, he respected them and was grateful for their votes. It's also extremely interesting to learn what goes on behind closed doors, and how policy is formulated.

OTOH this book reaffirmed my belief that politicians live in a totally different univers...more
Tom Coates
I read Tony Blair's book a while back, and found it a reasonably interesting read that articulated his positions on the large decisions very well. Even if you didn't agree with them, at least they were clear.

Mandelson's book is a better written affair, has a pretty clear focus and puts over his personality pretty well. It's definitely insightful, it's fascinating to see how such a skilled political operator functions, and it's true that it slightly makes you feel like his potential was rather wa...more
Blair
Before I start this review, I have a confession to make: I like Peter Mandelson. I'm aware this puts me in a (probably extremely small) minority, but I do. In fact, in my early teens, when I was an unapologetic New Labour fangirl, I practically hero-worshipped the man. While my perception of politics and the modern Labour party have definitely matured since then, and there are elements of Mandelson's beliefs I absolutely cannot get behind (mainly to do with privatisation), it's undeniable that h...more
Steve
I cannot be bothered to review an unremarkable book that hundreds of others have already reviewed before me. Unlike many people, I have always quite liked Peter Mandelson, but for such an engaging man the book is slightly disappointing in its ordinariness and lack of truly revelatory content.

I might have given it four stars for readability, but for the mind-numbingly dull 'extra chapter' included for the paperback version which is nothing but an ultra-wordy commentary on the coalition's first fe...more
Mary
Now this is a massive read. It's thick enough but then you realise how small the typeface is.

It is a book I'm glad I gave the time to though. It's a fascinating look at modern politics and New Labour. It's a no holds barred look at both those subjects. The big surprise was the lack of bitterness and bitchiness. The book is startlingly fair. I couldn't quite understand how he could be so fair but maybe the nasty environment of power grabbing they call politics gives you a thick skin.

No one comes...more
Dianne
Mar 09, 2011 Dianne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: politics
I remember the fuss when this book first came out in serial form in The Times. The problem with newspaper excerpts is that they concentrate on the more 'sexy' pieces.

It is a well written absorbing read (if the subject interests you) of the rise and fall of New Labour. Of the three young men responsible for the development of New Labour policies which kept Labour in power for three terms, Mandelson is the background figure who co-ordinated campaigns and acted as mediator and sounding board for bo...more
Colin Luker
Interesting book filling in the gaps about New Labour, both before an during their 13 years in government.It is very strange that what politicians presumably dream of most, to be in government, that they spend all of their time trying to destroy what they have achieved.

If all that is said in this book is true about the in fighting and personal one upmanships, particularly about Gordon Brown, then it is very sad that GB could not see that the position of PM he wanted and thought he could do was t...more
Maurice Frank
A small item is a morally stunning discovery for all survivors of abusively pushy school work and the type of teachers who rave and bellow and scream. At a moment in Mandelson's early career before he was famous, he reveals he had a mini stress crack-up and got medical advice on it from his GP. He had been overworking in his efforts for the party. Needed to take a rest period of limiting what he did. Included in his doctor's orders for it, was: not to bring any work home. For an adult able freel...more
Wendy
If you're only going to read one book on the rise and fall of New Labour, this probably shouldn't be it. I imagine that there are other books on the topic that are less biased and take a broader perspective. However, if you're a political junkie, this book does offer a vivid first-hand account of the reshaping of the Labour party in the late 80s and 90s, and the government's successes and later unravellings in the 00s. Particularly fascinating is the depiction of the relationship between Tony Bl...more
Dean MacKinnon-Thomson
3/5

A solid read, and very worthwhile. It covers all the key personal disputes, personality clashes in the very same calm, polite yet deadly style so unique to the RH Hon Lord.

In terms of style it flows beautifully, and i even found it a bit of a page turner.

So why not four or five stars?

1. Hard politics

It brilliantly gives insight to the hard edge of new labour spin-politics and yah-boo antics - but it doesn't provide enough info on the hard policies which had me voting Labour during those years...more
James
It turns out that Gordon Brown was a bastard, constantly derailing what Blair was trying to do. Not that we didn't already know this, but it's surprising just what an arse he was being.

No one comes out of the book in a particularly glorious light, apart from this "Peter Mandelson" character. It turns out that he had the foresight, and knew exactly what to do in every situation. Sentences like "I suspected there might be a hung parliament" which were written by Mandelson in retrospect merely rein...more
Matthew Ball

I found this accessible and enjoyable to read, perhaps partly because I found myself in agreement with most (if not all) of Mandelson's judgements. There are times when the tone is a little more self-serving than is really ideal - he likes very much to point out when he has done something right. But in fairness this is balanced by some refreshingly frank admission of his own failings. Discussion of policy tends to be fairly light, but he exhibits an obvious flair for politics, and for being in t...more
Gitte Lindberg
Much more revealing and insightful than Alastair Campbell's diaries, this book explores the relationships between the main movers and shakers of New Labour and the achievements of the party during its years in government. Not surprisingly Gordon Brown comes off worse in the account, which equally unsurprisingly leaves one feeling sorry about Mandelson's somewhat unfulfilled potential. The main surprise of the book is the weakness of Tony Blair's dealings with his cabinet colleagues, his neighbou...more
Arnold Mukuvare
I found this book very enjoyable although long. certainly a must read for anyone remotely interested in politics.
Peter Dunn

An interesting and easy read, it gave more insight into the man than I expected. As a PR person I was particularly amused by the bits that went along the lines of “I was very surprised that X appeared in the press – I did talk to journalist Y who wrote the story but I didn’t talk about topic X honest really...”

I see my employer the wonderful University of Warwick gets a mention on page 518 The reference says:
“The interview seemed to give Gordon new confidence as well. Six days later, at Warwick...more
Steve Gillway
This gives a clear insight into many aspects of the New Labour project. There is a great deal about Blair and Brown and all the shenanigans and petty squabbles which beset them. A great deal of the book is about how the author was mostly right about most things, how he was treated badly on occasions. I think that it was written with the hindsight in mind. What I mean is he kept all his notes and stuff because he knew that he would write a book at a later date. For all that, for anyone of the Tod...more
Louise
An enjoyable read which covers the creation and running of the New Labour party. Although there are no shocking revelations (mostly everything discussed has already been written or hinted at in the press), Mandleson gives a good insight into the personalities involved in the Labour party (including the Blair/Brown dynamic) and the pressures of political life. Although it at times feels quite biased and a little self serving, it is an interesting read so long as you aren’t looking for any deep po...more
Kyle
Peter Mandelson has a way with words. I didn't really expect this book to be a riveting read. I bought it out of curiousity and found it 'unputdownable'. He doesn't do a hatchet job on Gordon Brown, he just tells it as it was. However, it leaves you with a knowledge of the rivalry between Gordon and Tony over many years. Brown's obsessive desire to be PM had a corrosive effect on Blairs premiership and the overall governing of the nation. Gordon was indeed 'mad, bad and dangerous'.
Adrian Hunt
I felt as though I was there with Peter M, negotiating the rocky relationship of Brown (the villain) and Blair (the hero). His obsession with politics overwhelms the book but, I guess, reflects the man and the purpose of the book. However, his comments on politics were insightful and the importance of selling any project with a positive message is one that I try to apply in my life. Worth reading if only to confirm all your anti-Brown prejudices.
Isobel
Well if you write an autobiograhphy it will be 'all about me' but I feel that this one takes it to extremes. As a politician he had a grandstand view of some earth shattering world events, which only merited a passing sentence before his primary theme was rejoined. Despite this, much of what actually makes him tick seemed to be missing. It seemed that playing to the media was all that really mattered - surely there is more to him than that!
Leslie
Surprisingly I enjoyed this, partly due to the quality of the writing but also because it filled in a lot of things that I didnt know much about in terms of modern day politics.
What it also did was make it even more clear how much of politics is about personal power despite the fact that politicians say they are serving the people and their country.
Tim Ward
Very interesting for any political anorak. Gives an amazing account of the Blair/Brown relationship. I remember being puzzled at seeing fear in Tony Blair's face on TV when he won the third election, and this book explains why. Power is never enough, however great, it seems. Only more power is enough!
Ipswichblade
If this book is half true then it shines a bad light on a lot of people!! Really interesting part around what happened after May 2010 election and shows what a lot of people thought that Nick Clegg was so desperate for power he was happy to sell himslef and his party to the highest "bidder"
Leslie
As one who doesn't usually like autobiographies, I'm finding Peter's rise and fall and rise and fall quite intriguing.... nothing at all unpredictable though and, in the end, I just about felt a little bit sorry for Peter Mandelson and his treatment at the hands of Blair and Brown.
Rachel Tyndall
I loved this book as it was something of a learning curve for me and a real insight into Labour politics and the Blair-Brown relationship. I couldn't put it down and was a great read. I would recommend it to anyone interested in British politics!
Simon Howard
This is a very readable political autobiography, and it actually succeeds in making Peter Mandleson a sympathetic figure. It's worth reading for that achievement alone, but there is a lot more in there to entertain too.
Kitchmo
Chapters on the early years are interesting, as the chronology moves on things become less interesting just as they should be describing the real workings of New Labour.
Hannah
I expected this book to be scandalous and wow! Mandelson truly gives an insight into the workings of new labour and I found myself very interested!
Brian Mcleish
A look inside the mind of the master political strategist himself. Some self-justification no doubt but he doesn't pull his punches.
Salvation House
Nice book, even though partisan in reportage. I guess that was the purpose of the book. Expose on life within New Labour.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Blair Years: The Alastair Campbell Diaries
  • A Journey: My Political Life
  • The End Of The Party
  • The Downing Street Years
  • William Pitt the Younger
  • Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5
  • Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter, 1979-1997
  • White House Diary
  • The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936
  • The Case of the Pope
  • A Secret History of the IRA
  • The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (Counterblasts #10)
  • The Wonga Coup
  • Advanced Banter: The Qi Book of Quotations
  • Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media
  • Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member
  • Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West
  • The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be
815380
British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner for Trade. He was a key architect in the rebranding of the Labour Party as "New Labour" and its subsequent landslide victory in the 1997 general election. He is President of the inter...more
More about Peter Mandelson...
The Blair Revolution The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour Labour's Next Steps: Tackling Social Exclusion Young People and Broadcasting The Blair Revolution Revisited

Share This Book