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A Journey: My Political Life
     

A Journey: My Political Life

3.3 203
by Tony Blair
 

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In this remarkably gripping memoir, one of the most dynamic and controversial leaders of modern times gives us a firsthand account of his years in office and beyond.
 
Here, for the first time, Tony Blair recounts his role in shaping our recent history, from the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death to the war on terror. With rare honesty and courage

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Journey: My Political Life 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 203 reviews.
jayaashermusic More than 1 year ago
Agree with him or not, it is a thought-provoking, insightful, and witty book by a man who definitely made his mark on the world stage.
RobbieLincoln More than 1 year ago
"Leadership without delegation is usually a mess. But when it is crisis time, forget delegation. That's the moment you're there for: grip it, shape it, decide it and solve it." (Tony Blair). The bio is not so much about his early life as it is his rise to politics and a reflection of his struggle to move the left-leaning and politically failing Labour Party to the center and his frenemy relationship with Gordon Brown, who eventually succeeded in displacing him. (To Americans not familiar with parliamentary procedures, the British system of selecting a frenemy to succeed you during your term in office is inconceivable and repugnant, but it's the way they do things over the Pond.) His memoirs are full of humor, and anyone familiar with government will get a kick of his descriptions of public life ("So I would go from meeting to meeting, each event a risk, each encounter potentially explosive, each remark liable to be scrutinised, each facial expression a cause for serenity or alarm, each smile a grimace if too small, cheesy if too large"). His description of London's New Year's Eve event the night before the Millenium is LOL (to his wife: "Darling, there is only one thing I am going to thank God for tonight, and that is they only come round every thousand years"). But his memoirs have poignant moments as well. He treats the paradoxical Princess with respect, and the scene with Rudy Gulianni right after 9-11 is deeply moving. Blair's resoluteness is laudable: his unwillingness to let the unions economically destroy his country ("As their consequence diminishes, so their dwindling adherents become ever more shrill and strident, more solicitous of protecting their own shrinking space rather than understanding that the voice of the times has moved on and they must listen before speaking"), and his belief that the innocent citizens in terrorist states must be offered something better than that which we are trying to take away from them.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Former British prime minister Tony Blair's memoir "A Journey: My Political Life" is a political biography of unusual interest. Clearly the most dominant figure in Britain's politics for the past 20 years Blair came to the fore as leader of the Labour Party in 1994, and served as prime minister from 1997 - 2007. These years saw him deal with the devastation of Princess Diana's death, peace negotiations in Northern Ireland, enormous public service reforms, and war - Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq. Here is a journal of those years in his own words. Blair has donated all proceeds from this book to charity for wounded British military veterans. And, in his memoir he ruminates about whether or not his decisions to engage in war were wise. He delivers more than a convincing defense of his actions. Further, he expresses admiration and respect for recent American presidents, including Obama, and notes that in visiting our shores during the ten years he served as prime minister he came to love America. It is rare that one is offered such a close look at history as seen through the eyes of an important participant. Deprecating at times his writing seems devoid of artifice, but simply a desire to tell it as it was. Speaking of telling it's an immense pleasure to listen to it read in Blair's own voice. Rich in anecdotal material A JOURNEY is interesting reading as well as being an important contribution not only for generations to come but also a study to help us better understand our world today. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tony wins my heart, everytime despite his associations that lead freemen to very shabby futures with his endorsements that further sustainable/ greenie code speak!
stevegil More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary for it breadth, introspection, honesty, intellect and experience-based wisdom. Blair's progressivism is passionately focused on improving the lives and opportunity for what is now called "ordinary people". He believes this agenda is undermined by government intrusion into the economy, excessive regulation, ineffective (soft?)approaches to crime, poor education, excessive deficits, and other phenomena more often the result of ideologies and shibboleths woven in the DNA of liberal thinking from its labor roots in the first of the Century. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer whose political philosophies began with the Ballad of Joe Hill, I found one of Blair's most intriguing conclusions about Progressivism's continual courtship with in-electability and irrelevance (a mirror of current US politics) is the difficulty academics and educated liberals have with the notion of "aspiration" -- that most on the bottom of society do not view themselves as the noblest class. They want to join the middle and upper class, an ambition liberal academic and media find somewhat distasteful(bourgeois). Possibly 7 books in one there is something for everyone here. (1) Major events and decisions of the Blair era; (2) Performance reviews and "thank you's" to myriad public and private personnel with whom Blair worked; (3) The World Leader's Club - how they work and interact on a personal level and Blair's personal experience of many, (4) Living in Downing Street with Children and a working wife; (5)The Islamic Conundrum; (6) An unaccountable greed and ratings-driven media's increasingly destructive and destabilizing force on democracies; (7) Progressivism - values, principles, and practices it must understand and adopt to effectively enable the aspirations of middle and lower socio-economic people. This book will cause discomfort to "liberal" ideological purists. Expect academics and media reviewers to shun this book. The facts as presented do not correspond to their current world view and, as we see continually, the establishment today does not differ markedly from those in Galileo's time. So whether it is George Bush, statism, income redistribution (a la Robert Reich), etc.--in that ecosphere the world is flat and the sun revolves around it. Read this book if you want fascinating insights to the world of social change, globalization, Islamic fundamentalism, governance or just a "People Magazine" look at some of the amazing men and women with whom he interacted.
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Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair states in his book, A Journey: My Political Life that his most common question asked is: "how are the American Presidents like?" Blair jokingly answers, "they are very different from each other!" Paraphrasing his conclusions he states that Clinton is an extraordinary mixture of easygoing charm and ferocious intellectual capacity. Probably, in terms of political intuition and certainly in terms of turning such intuition into analysis, he is the most formidable politician he had met. Blair's theory is that the "blessing of his [Clinton] times is the disadvantage of his legacy". As to George W. Bush, he was straightforward and direct. The stupidest misconception was that Bush was stupid. Bush has great intuition but it was less about politics and more about what he thought was right or wrong. This wasn't expressed analytically or intellectually. It was just stated. As to Barack Obama, he is a visionary and a man of steel and he is trying to shape a different policy to meet these aims, avoiding market excesses in economics and the alienation of America from its allies, potential or actual, in meeting the security challenge. Blair concludes that leaders comes in all shapes and sizes but the real test of leadership- amongst all the tests of policy, judgment, politics, and ability- is whether, in the final analysis, you put country first. Each of these presidents does and for a reason not connected simply to them. That is the beauty of America and leads to the special bond between Great Britain and the United States. A Journey: My Political Life centers on Blair's political journey as a back bencher to the highest office of Prime Minister. He takes the reader to the ups and lows of the job. Kosovo, Princess Diana's death, and his most haunting move to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the US after the events of 9-11 with the attempt to have end the issues in Ireland. His straight forward voice and perspective bring an interesting peek into the inner thoughts of this effective Prime Minister. The tenure of Blair was one of a time where progressives were redefining the role of government and policy. His youth and charisma also led a transformation period where globalization and the threat of terrorism impacted the traditional super powers and the old world outlook of Great Britain. Blair consolidated the dreaded questions time into one day on Wednesdays in the name of efficiency to get over this British legislative tradition and shares candid assessment of his fellow actors on the world stage. As a former elected leaders, Blair currently focuses on learning about the growing influence of the Far East, bridging religious understanding and the shared responsibility of caring for the planet. Blair concludes that "it is not that the power of politics is needed to liberate the people; but that the power of people is needed to liberate the politics." A easy to read account of the Blair years and the inner workings of our neighbor across the pond.
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Ausonius More than 1 year ago
On balance, I do not think much of Tony Blair's 2010 memoir, A JOURNEY: MY POLITICAL LIFE. It is, at 700 pages, at least 300 pages too long. It rambles. It is poorly edited. And, even when tailored to American readers, it assumes too much advance knowledge of the United Kingdom. Abounding in of photos of Tony, A JOURNEY offers American readers not a single map of his country or the places important to him. There is, for my taste, too much trivia about why Blair never drank as much as other Labour Party greats, what his favorite sleep medication is, why he spends so much time in the loo and on and on. *** Although it took me a long time to do justice to A JOURNEY during a first reading, I decided that the book might make more sense on a second. I was curious, for example, about why he felt that the UK deserved something better than "Old Labour." In the process, Tony Blair did give me a sense of what had once been right about Old Labour -- even when it consistently appealed to no more than a third of the British electorate. *** Consider a very long passage from Chapter Two, "The Apprentice Leader." The year was 1996 and Labour Party leader in Opposition John Smith had just died in harness of a heart attack. Blair decided to try, against the odds, to win Smith's party position. It was time for a change. The traditional Labour Party attracted only two sorts of people (1) trade unionists and (2) intellectual social democrats. There were simply not enough of both types to make Labour relevant to governance in the modern world. Ah, but once upon a time! "The leaders of the early and mid-twentieth century like Ernie Bevin, or Jack Jones later, were titans: working-class men who through union meetings, colleges and conferences, achieved the education society had denied them, and who were shining examples of self-improvement. In those days, meetings were well attended -- hundreds at a branch meeting was not exceptional. They were arenas of debate, often fiercely conducted, of discussion, of decision." *** Still, to Tony Blair, much was to be learned from Margaret Thatcher, Tory Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Thatcher was for free markets, deregulation and for a society of equality of opportunity not of Government-imposed weath redistribution. The bulk of Tony Blair's memoir is about how he grafted the best of Thatcherism onto the best of "Old" Labour, creating in the process "New' Labour. Blair and a few true believers then made New Labour into a force to be reckoned with in modern Europe and the world. Another ongoing part of the narrative is about why Blair's one time close friend and political soul mate, Gordon Brown, never embraced New Labour and in the end forced Blair to turn over party leadership to Brown, who then promptly returned to Old Labour. And lost the next election after Blair's three triumphs at the polls. *** There are in A JOURNEY numerous nuggets on insights into historical turning points, Northern Ireland, Princess Diana and other personalities. But it takes far too much effort, in my opinion, to dig them out from the dross that they are embedded in. Too much time for too few results. -OOO-
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