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A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine: The Last Diaries Paperback – 24 Apr 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; Reprint edition (24 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099564955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099564959
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tony Benn entered the Commons in 1950 and with Ted Heath held the record for post-war service as an MP. He has held four cabinet posts and has twice contended the leadership of the Labour Party, of which he has also been chairman. His many books include eight individual volumes of diaries and the childhood memoir, Dare to Be a Daniel.

Product Description

Review

"There is a new kind of freedom in his thoughts and in his writing." (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)

"This is a lovely book; warm, humane, genuinely revelatory and, on occasions, a touch surreal." (Rod Liddle The Sunday Times)

"There is something amusing on almost every page of these diaries." (Daily Telegraph)

"The real Benn is with us still, but that friendly diarist's voice in one's ear has now fallen silent for good. It is an eerie foretaste of quite how much we will miss him when he's gone." (Guardian)

"And so the mighty torrent of words finally dries up… It is hard not to admire Benn’s determination to be true to his ideals… Tony Benn is not going gentle into that good night." (Sunday Times)

Book Description

The final volume from the pre-eminent diarist of his generation.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Charles VINE VOICE on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a delightful, unique book possibly destined to become a future classic.

Poignant, warming and sometimes quite funny, it is, sadly, the final diaries of one of the great Parliamentarians of the age.

While I believe Benn has been mostly wrong throughout his life - on everything from lauding Chairman Mao to opposing the relaxing of licensing laws - he's always worth listening to.

Detailing the years from 2007 to present, the book has Benn stoically facing up to death, wondering whether he has been too egotistical down the years, coming up with new invention the seat-case, calling Gordon Brown a disaster, and working, working, working.

This man in his eighties would, for example, get up at 5am, walk to the tube, get a train up north, attend a few meetings, come back down to London, give a speech or two at a peace rally in Trafalgar Square, then at night attend a party for Shami Chakrabarti (while never touching a drop, of course).

He is often `very, very tired', frequently depressed (particularly in the morning) and has unending problems with his computer and his broadband.

There are all sorts of surprises: he calls the Observer rubbish - `I'd rather read The Sunday Telegraph'; David Cameron tells him he enjoyed Benn's Arguments For Democracy; he ponders whether he has been wrong about everything; he wraps 140 Christmas presents for his family.

Benn comes across as incredibly industrious, fearless, honourable and full of integrity. He cares for many people and has time for folk no matter what their politics. He loves his Parliament. The adoration he feels for his family and that they feel for him is clear, and very touching.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brian40MK on 19 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As always the Benn Diaries are an enjoyable and entertaining read, even though I would recommend anyone to read and buy a copy, be prepared for an emotional rollacoaster of a journey through each page, as the various stages as chronicled by Benn of coping with creeping old age and ill health, is very upsetting including the last chapter covering his hospitalisations and the reasons now why this has meant that he now longer has the strength to keep continuing with his diaries very sad.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Graham Cowking on 31 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading Tony Benn's diaries for twenty years or more; it's a little sad to consider that physical frailty has meant the end of his diaries when there is so much intellectual life left in the man and so much left to share. You would expect the final volume, written by a man in his eighties, to be the work of a spectator. In fact, he makes strenuous efforts to be at the centre of things by keeping his friendships with key figures in good repair, making extensive use of his Commons pass years after resigning his seat.

Because he dictates his diaries at the end of each day, before committing them to paper, this is as raw as it gets. When he forgets a name, however notable, he just leaves it in there. Because we are being provided with a largely unedited stream of consciousness as the thoughts pass through his fatigued brain last thing at night (he rises at 5 most mornings), all of the contradictions are very much on display, provoking raw reactions in the reader too, as no doubt intended. I felt frustration at the author as he reacted to the detention of a teacher, imprisoned by an Islamic regime for the naming of a teddy bear, by merely criticising the extent of the press coverage and how well the poor woman was treated in prison. No questions are asked about whether or not she was given a fair trial by a jury of her peers - of course she was not. By contrast, he campaigns tirelessly against detention without trial of terror suspects in the UK. Ours is not to ask how Sinn Fein and Hamas, both of which he champions and admires, would fare if held up to the standards he demands of a Western democracies when lamenting the decline of 'civil liberties' in the West.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By hub301 on 16 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Frank, open, insightful and thought provoking...loved this from beginning to end. There may be some political views expressed which might not agree with every reader but the promotion of tolerance, consideration for others and love of the family shines through. Put any prejudices or ideologies to one side this is a talented and erudite man expressing thoughts on a range of issues many of which cross the political divide. Most of all the belief that the world is there for all to share and improved only through debate and discussion - not war.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Rennie on 13 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Just when you think the good guys have all gone this comes along and renews you. Tony Benn is, was, and always will be one of, if the top, parliamentarian of our age. To give us consistent diaries since 1940 all fun of fun and thought provoking insights makes him my hero

Forget your politics and buy and read this book you will not regret it.

Amazon have provided me with many books across the years but none as good as this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Johnston on 6 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a guy. What a sad story. And what sacrifice one man made for those things he believed in. And if ever there was an advert for NOT spending your life in the Westminster village bubble - here it is. Variety IS the spice of life and sadly TB afforded himself little of it. But what a man. What conviction. What integrity. Our politicians could learn much..
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