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A Journey: My Political Life Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

3.9 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Critics who dubbed Britain's ex-prime minister "Tony Blur" for his allegedly substance-free politics swaddled in gauzy PR won't have their minds changed by this nebulous memoir. Blair's brief for his "ground-breaking" New Labour platform reads like a marketing plan: it's all about middle-class "aspiration," "focusing on the developing tastes of consumers," and "modernization," the glossed-over particulars being a muddle of small-bore education, health-care and law-and-order initiatives. The Iraq War is a similar "battle between modernizers and reactionaries," according to Blair's high-minded justification, a battle which would have gone well but for the meddling of Al Qaeda and Iran. He writes like an ad executive--"it had to be dignified, it had to be different, and it had to be Diana," he says of the laudably "modern" princess's funeral--but his candor can be bracing. He paints comic scenes of excruciating audiences with dull dignitaries and the weekly torment of Prime Minister's Questions, is nakedly spiteful toward his Labour rival and successor Gordon Brown, and never hides his preoccupation with image-crafting and media relations. ("Look like a prime minister," he reminds himself on election night.) Blair reveals himself to be savvy, charming, and sometimes earnest and impassioned, but never quite a statesman. (Sept. 2) (c)
Copyright © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The longest-serving Labour prime minister of Britain, and still a figure on the international political stage, Blair recalls in detail the events of his premiership. He covers lots of actions and activities and shares with forthrightness his thinking on world and domestic issues he had to confront; on the other hand, on occasion he does play his cards close to the vest, avoiding a complete “spilling” of his thoughts about a certain situation he had then and now. Blair’s view of the late Princess Diana is discerning; of his successor, Gordon Brown, hardly affectionate; of George Bush (the younger), certainly controversial. Consciousness of his public image was never far from how he acted in office and now how he writes about his actions. Behind the scenes in the halls of power is always an interesting place to go, and Blair takes us there with delight on his part and on our part, from weekending with the royal family in Scotland to the nerve-racking “Prime Minister’s Questions,” when the PM must face inquiries (read “criticism”) from the opposition MPs. A necessary purchase for all public-library contemporary political-memoir collections. High-Demand Backstory: Reviews everywhere and author appearances on major television shows indicate just how much interest in this book is out there. --Brad Hooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (September 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739369830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739369838
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,031,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh in 1953. He became MP for Sedgefield in 1983, leader of the Labour Party in 1994 and prime minister of the United Kingdom from May 1997 to June 2007.

Since leaving Downing Street, Tony Blair has served as the Quartet Representative to the Middle East. He represents the USA, UN, Russia and EU, working with the Palestinians to prepare for statehood as part of the international community's effort to secure peace.

In May 2008 he launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation which promotes respect and understanding between the major religions and makes the case for faith as a force for good in the modern world.

His Africa Governance Initiative delivers projects in Rwanda and Sierra Leone and Liberia, advising the leaders and their governments on policy delivery and attracting investment.

As the first major head of government to bring climate change to the top of the international political agenda at the 2005 G8 summit, Tony Blair works with world leaders to build consensus on an international climate policy framework.

In recognition of his debt to the North East of England, he has launched The Tony Blair Sports Foundation, to increase opportunities for young people to participate in sport.

He is married to Cherie Booth QC, and they have four children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As Tony Blair said it at the beginning of the book, this is not a memoir; it is a reflection of history that unravelled around him mainly during the time of his prime ministership. Readers may have extremely different political views and a review risks appearing taking one side or another. My review is not about Tony Blair the politician, but Tony Blair the writer. I am only judging the book from the point of view of the quality of writing describing personal development, political views, exposure to events and people packed in one single volume. My conclusion is if you can put the politics aside, it is a great read.

Undeniably, Tony is a master of political thinking. He is the longest serving Labour Prime Minister after all. You will find in this book a superb analysis of leadership when he writes about the period before the election in 1992. He is a genius when it comes to understanding the change in the public mood and society, although not without fault, as history has shown. An interesting read is the analysis of Labour philosophy, its political agenda, the structure of the voters who favoured Labour, and who didn't, the meaning of "working class" in the 80's (the philosophical essence of the change to New Labour could be summarised in his words: "I hate class. I love aspiration"), the thinking system of some of the Labour main public figures.

The book is personal story narrated in a style that changes throughout the book. It can be crisp and clear, but it can be convoluted, dragging the argument on and on. It gives away a schism between two sides which contradict themselves: the intense, ambitious political man who has the point blank desire to get the power ("it is an extraordinary feeling...
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Format: Hardcover
First my objective analysis: Blair was Labor leader in 1994, and rode that position to become Prime minister in 1997 with the biggest victory in Labor's history. The book contains 22 chapters covering the period 1997 to 2007. There is a chapter dealing with 2007 - 2010 which are issues that are current and subsequent to his service as Prime Minister. As you know all biography is subjective and selective, and this book is no less so than others. The book's most interesting chapters are:

3) New Labor

5) Princess Diane

6) Peace in Northern Ireland

8) Kosovo

12) 9/11 "Shoulder to Shoulder"

My Subjective Analysis": Tony Blair can write, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You know an author is at the very top of his form when he can put together sentences in such a way that you say to yourself, if I had a month to think about it, I don't think I could have put it any better.

An example is in the introduction, where Blair states the American burden is that it wants to be loved, but knows it can't be. Love is given to nations with which we sympathize...powerful nations aren't loved...they have to be feared by their enemies.

Blair also seems to be excellent at understanding the world leaders that he developed extensive personal and long relationships with. This includes Vladimir Putin, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama. Listen in just a few words at what awaits you:

Bill Clinton - The Prime Minister found Clinton to be, "The most formidable politician I ever met, actually a brilliant President. He made it at times look easy."

George W. Bush - Blair thought Bush was straight forward and direct.
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Format: Hardcover
Tony Blair's autobiography hits all the high points of his tenure and a few around it: Some brief background about Blair's fairly pedestrian middle class background; his rise to power in Labor including the timely death of one of his predecessors which allowed him to jump to leadership; his three elections and the many episodes that came between them such as Iraq, peace efforts in Ireland, National Health Service reform, and the millennium; and his long, somewhat tortured departure. A few observations:

1. Tony Blair never really had a friendship with Gordon Brown. Oh he says they were friends and the press has told us they were, but if you read between the lines they always viewed each other as competitors. Blair did not miss many opportunities to leapfrog over Brown in the party leadership or slap Brown down as PM. He then seems surprised when Brown does not treat him with total deference. I am sure he said something nice about Brown somewhere in the book, but I cannot recall where.

2. Blair is much more conservative than I thought. I always thought of Blair as a progressive to moderate who was muscular on national security. Blair tries to align himself with Bill Clinton as a third way type of centrist progressive. But other than climate change and a few platitudes towards progressive programs, Blair does not really have much patience for them. This really comes through with his criticism to the economic crisis that occurred once he was out of office, which he seems to believe the market could have solved. But throughout the book his description of "new labor" has a lot in common with the Republican Party in the United States. Oh I am sure I am overstating it, but I was really surprised by the way his positions came off.

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