Top critical review
on April 7, 2012
Parts of this book are terrific, and parts are extremely boring. At least a third of this book should have been omitted or moved into an Appendix. If this had been done, it would have been a vastly improved book.
Because the good parts are so good, I still recommend reading it. But expect to skip several sections.
The best parts: the section on the Northern Ireland peace talks; his descriptions of how New Labour broke new ground; his descriptions of "lessons learned"; and his descriptions of the political struggles with Gordon Brown.
One thing that surprised me was just how smart Tony Blair is. When he was in public office, the media always depicted him as a airhead. When reading this book I realized the exact opposite is the case. He is a very smart, astute person.
The worst parts of this book: the constant mentioning of new names (Blair seems to feel the need to describe every person he ever worked with in his life); and the sections on Iraq. Blair has some important things to say about Iraq, but they could (and should) have been said in just a few pages. He would have been just as convincing. Instead Blair goes on and on and on defending his position. His writing here is very tedious. Most of the Iraq section should have been moved into an Appendix.
It is obvious Blair wrote this book himself. This is both an asset and disadvantage: an asset because his voice and personality come through very clearly. It's a disadvantage, because he got carried away, and obviously didn't have an editor strong enough to enforce some discipline.