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The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Audiobooks; Abridged edition edition (9 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846571286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846571282
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.4 x 12.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alastair Campbell was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. Having graduated from Cambridge University in modern languages, he went into journalism, principally with the Mirror Group. When Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, Campbell worked for him first as press secretary, then as official spokesman and director of communications and strategy from 1994 to 2003. He continued to act as an advisor to Mr Blair and the Labour Party, including during the 2005 election campaign. Since then, he has been engaged mainly in writing, public speaking and working for Leukaemia Research, where he is chairman of fundraising.

Product Description

Review

"Campbell has a draught Guinness voice with a husky edge to it; he could narrate Chandler thrillers to perfection...it was hard to tear myself away" (The Times)

Book Description

The Blair Years is the most compelling and revealing account of contemporary politics you will ever read. Taken from Alastair Campbell's daily diaries, it charts the rise of New Labour and the tumultuous years of Tony Blair's leadership, providing the first important record of a remarkable decade in our national life. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alastair Campbell spent the period 1994-2003 as the chief `spin-doctor' of Tony Blair, with job of putting him, and later the New Labour government, in the best possible light. This volume contains edited extracts from the diaries he kept during the period. Like all political documents written specifically for future publication they should be approached critically, so it is useful to know where Campbell stands at present. Helpfully he lists in the Introduction what he believes are the achievements during this period. Some are substantial and undeniable, such as peace in Northern Ireland and the intervention in the Balkans. Others are much more controversial, such as a `reformed educational system' and an `improved health service'. About Iraq, which, rightly or wrongly, will be remembered as the Blair `legacy', he simply says that he hopes the book will add to the discussion that `will run for years, if not decades'.

The diaries themselves are fascinating and give a unique insight to the frenetic world of politics at the highest level, with its endless round of meetings and conferences, and crises, great and small, demanding solutions. The brief sketches of the personalities involved, both national and international, and their interactions, are some of the most interesting parts of the diaries. We learn of the extraordinary way Blair used his closest advisors to deliberately work himself up into a kind of panic before delivering important speeches, and how the endless friction between Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson frequently poisoned the atmosphere. Above all there is the obsession with the media and the image of New Labour.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A reader on 24 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
It is probably inevitable that Alastair Campbell, as a New Labour supporter, would be reluctant to rock the boat while there was still a chance that the party could retain power at the next election. However, a book about the Blair years that barely touches on the relationship between Blair and Brown, and especially the oft-reported animosity between them, cannot be said to offer a balanced view.

This book was sold as an excerpt from the diaries, so perhaps the next volume, which will presumably be published either after the Tories have defeated New Labour, or after Gordon Brown has done so much damage to the party that nothing Campbell said could make things worse, will be more illuminating.

That being said, this volume provides an insight into Tony Blair's premiership, and his relationship with others in his cabinet, and with other world leaders.

As a journalist, Alastair Campbell knows how to write well, and to hold the reader's interest. I look forward to his next volume, because it might explain why the office of Prime Minister was apparently handed on a plate to somebody who proved to be incapable of handling it. Were there no signs during the previous ten years that Brown has reached the limit of his abilities, and was not fitted for the highest office? I think we should be told - and I hope that Alastair Campbell will oblige!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Parkus on 4 May 2011
Format: Audio CD
After doing a Marketing degree I really admired Alistair Campbell and his work for Labour - despite the morals and some decisions of TB. Listening to him recall his time working for Blair was really interesting. I know all diaries contain some 'pinch of salt' moments, this was absolutely fascinating.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barb on 29 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am only part the way through but so far it is a very honest account of the Blair years. It provides a very good insight into that period of UK government. I would certainly recommend this book.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ms. N. C. Browne on 12 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Campbell has a sharp eye for personal description and these pull the reader through the book, they are funny and rude. He has no confidence in the abilities of MPs and Cabinet Ministers. Sadly neither Blair nor Campbell were able to encourage the abilities of those who could have been working with them, instead they laughed at them.The book shows the egoism and fragility of both men, who steamrolled others throughout their reign.
The book was also totally dishonest about so many political incidents. EG: the contentious Dome, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Mandelsons's resignations are all skated over. There is no development and no analysis, political or otherwise. On this level the book is a lightweight sham.
Campbell obviously needed people to see that he had got his story out there first. Campbell was Blair's Office fixer and this is the only level on which the book works.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Magic Lemur VINE VOICE on 2 April 2012
Format: Audio CD
The first thing I'd tell anyone who wanted to listen to the audio version of this book (or indeed read it) is that it is very much for fans of politics. If the inner workings of New Labour and the art of the possible get your blood flowing a bit quicker, then this is an excellent book. On the other hand, if you'd rather change the subject when politics comes up in conversation, then this book is probably not for you.

It is also worth making you aware that this is very much a fixers guide to politics, rather than the charismatic words of a front man (such as Blair or Clinton). To use a phrase from the film The Damned United: Blair was the shop front, and Campbell was more the goods at the back.

The audio book is a 5 CD abridged version of the 832 page full version and, although this can have limitations, it still seems to fit in all the essentials while giving sufficient detail on each to provide valuable insights on the inner workings of New Labour. As a politics geek myself, I found the content really interesting, especially when it came to how Campbell dealt with the stresses of the job and his conversations with Bill Clinton and George Bush (the latter of whom is, like Campbell, a teetotaller but, unlike Campbell, saw religion as the only way out).

Unfortunately the fascinating and well selected content is let down by Alastair Campbell's rather monotonous tone.
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