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122 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Read of the Life of a Charismatic Prime Minister !!!, September 2, 2010
This review is from: A Journey: My Political Life (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. He says about Bush, "The stupidest misconception was that he was stupid" - great intuition, less about politics, more about he thought was right and wrong.

Barack Obama - This was a very interesting observation. "This is a man with steel in every part of him."

You will love his candid analysis of all the major players in the world. However as is true in most autobiographic materials, Blair is less candid about himself and his shortcomings. There is very little about his upbringing or what brought him to his political beliefs. Regarding Iraq he is unapologetic about leading his country to war when there were no weapons of mass destruction. It seems he is trying to sway history here, more than the current reader.

Blair also states that his interest in religion was greater than his interest in politics, but then tells us nothing about how his religious beliefs have impacted and shaped his political beliefs. All in all this is a GREAT READ, and I urge you to do so, if only to get a wonderful understanding of how a foreign leader who had an understanding of America in this time viewed our country through his own informed lens.

Blair will always be remembered as the man who brought the Labor Party into the 21st century by getting rid of the concept of nationalization, and let's disarm by ourselves. He also was quite eloquent in explaining our President's position on Iraq better than our President was. Small failing's aside, I think you will love reading this book, and thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck
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Initial post: Aug 25, 2011 4:09:46 PM PDT
R. Hakaj says:
great review
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