Garry O’Connor, better known for his probing researches into the lives, loves and professional craft of figures large on stage and screen – figures as diverse as Peggy Ashcroft and Alec Guinness – is eminently well placed to deconstruct theatrical trends in modern political life. His insights into the duality and mimetic display of Tony and Cherie Blair encapsulate at a stroke the tasteless descent of public debate, with politics a discipline now more or less one with media showmanship. It’s the image, underpinned by short, nominal, non-verbal slogans, that infects almost every aspect of modern culture. We cannot blame the Blairs personally, who after all are only products themselves of the media schedule, but O’Connor’s searching biography of that pair – a symbiotic pair – not entirely unique in contemporary politics, is as good a litmus as any of leadership as more public display than public accountability.
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About the Author
Garry O’Connor has worked as daily theatre critic for the *Financial Times*, and as a director for the RSC, before he became a fulltime writer. As well as his novels and plays, Garry has published many books on actors, literary figures, religious and political leaders, including Pope John Paul II and the Blairs. He has had plays performed at Edinburgh, Oxford, Ipswich, London and on Radio 4, and contributed dramatised documentaries to Radio 3, scripts and interviews for BBC 1, as well as having his work adapted for a three-part mini-series.