Sunday, 10 October 2010
A Journey by Tony Blair
I am a part of 'Blair's generation' in that I was 11 when he came to power in 1997 and 21 when he left power in 2007. I grew up in his schooling system, was one of the first to take the new AS-Levels and when I went to university, I had to pay the new top-up fees. I voted for Labour in my first election (2005) but also joined in the marches against the Iraq war. I was interested to read his autobiography for all of these reasons, and especially interested as he is such a divisive figure. People either love him or hate him (and most hate him), but no one seems to actually listen to what he has to say anymore.
Synopsis: Autobiography of Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the UK between 1997 - 2007.
Score: 3 out of 5
This was a long book. It wasn't just long in terms of the number of pages (just under 700), but it felt long due to the poor organisation of the book. The chapters were extended and seemed to ramble round a few different topics aside from the chapter heading in no particular order. I like that the book was organised thematically rather than chronologically, and I liked the informal, chatty writing style, but think the book would have been much improved by splitting it into many smaller chapters just restricted to one theme. The chapter on Iraq also had a few pages on university fees and Northern Ireland, for example. This made it hard to follow at times and hard to get an overall sense of the passing of time.
That aside, I did enjoy reading the book. My favourite sections were the parts dealing with international issues and summits, which felt honestly told and full of fascinating characters and relationships. There was a sense that not much was held back and Blair had made a real effort to tell his side of the story. He wasn't apologetic or trying to covert you to his side of things, he was just telling it as he saw it.
The book was largely ideological. As someone who is interested in politics, I enjoyed that side of it and felt that understanding the ideology helped me to understand the decisions and actions made by Tony Blair as prime minister. However, the ideology was repeated constantly throughout the book, which is a bit unnessecary. Well worth the read for anyone interested in politics or current events, though.
What do you think of Tony Blair?