Tony Daniel's Reviews > A Journey: My Political Life

A Journey by Tony Blair
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's review
Sep 06, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: biography, history

Blair's account of his time in office as prime minister of England. Ended up really enjoying this. Blair is very good at constructing enough of an open and honest persona that you're willing to suspend your disbelief and allow that he's at least attempting to give you the straight story, at least by his own lights. You know you're being spun, but it's kind of enjoyable to watch how a master does it, even if you are the mark. He's also quite good at giving the reader glimpses of what he wants you to believe he REALLY thinks about particular personalities. Gordon Brown does not fare well. Bush he clearly likes as a person, Clinton he clearly adores. Cheney he at least attempts to understand (but gets it wrong).

It's all very deft -- like listening to a long, but really pretty good, political speech by somebody who knows how to deliver one. And what I think Blair absolutely accomplishes as a writer in a nicely artless way is to paint a portrait of the one of those people who are always "the smartest guy in the room" -- and the frustrations and triumphs of being that guy most of the time whether you want to be or not.

If only Gordon Brown had seen the political necessity and essential rightness of New Labour positions. If only Obama had turned out to be a Clinton-like DLC Democrat instead of some mini-FDR wannabe...


It probably also doesn't hurt that I essentially agree with Blair's political instincts, even if I think some of his particular choices are daft (global warming, E.U. membership at all costs and offering idiotic and unnecessary British concessions) and sometimes his essential misunderstanding of the foundations of his position are hilarious. But in the end, I think Blair got it right more often than not, and he stuck true to what was obviously the right course despite enormous headwinds blowing from the gasbags of his own political set and his opposition.
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Reading Progress

September 6, 2010 – Started Reading
September 6, 2010 – Shelved
September 6, 2010 –
page 500
September 27, 2010 – Shelved as: biography
September 27, 2010 – Shelved as: history
September 27, 2010 – Finished Reading

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