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The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour [Kindle Edition]

Peter Mandelson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The number one bestselling memoir of one of New Labour’s three founding architects, now with a revealing new chapter updating this e-book edition.

Peter Mandelson is one of the most influential politicians of modern times. ‘The Third Man’ is his story – of a life played out in the backroom and then on the frontline of the Labour Party during its unprecedented three terms in government.

Much of the book is devoted to the defining political relationships of Peter Mandelson’s life – with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Charting what he terms the ‘soap-opera’ years of the Labour government, his book continues to ruffle feathers with an updated preface bringing the story up to the tempestuous present.


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Review

‘Gossip, intrigue and scandal…a truthful and witty account’ New Statesman

‘Informative, clear and containing refreshing doses of self-knowledge, occasional regret and thoughtfulness’ Andrew Marr

‘Shines a brutal light on the conflicts at the heart of Labour’s leadership’ Guardian

‘Mandelson has added heavily to the sum total of political knowledge' The Times

‘A revealing and important book by a more winning individual than I had expected to encounter’ Matthew Parris

‘A very good book…Fluently written and substantial, this is a serious book by a serious man’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A compelling account of the New Labour years. Revealing and subtle…The book should be read by anyone remotely interested in politics’ Independent

About the Author

Peter Mandelson was born in London in 1953 and educated at Hendon County Grammar School and Oxford University. At the age of thirty-two he became Labour’s Director of Campaigns and Communications, and he was elected as MP for Hartlepool in 1992. During Tony Blair’s premiership he was Minister without Portfolio, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He stood down as an MP in 2004 to become EU Trade Commissioner, before returning to the government under Gordon Brown as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, First Secretary of State, and Lord President of the Council. He remains in Parliament as a member of the House of Lords.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prince of Darkness 5 Feb. 2012
By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Unlike the political memoirs that promise to tell all this book tells only what its author means it too, and thank goodness for it is already a long book for such a tale. Lord Mandelson is a Marmite man, and many (including many of my fellow reviewers) really dislike him. I have less of an opinion on the man than they. I find him witty but with that element of control that hints at more interesting views. But most of us will be unable to judge the balance of his story of the New Labour years and his part in them. It is a tale of three chums each with a weakness, a bargain that pleased none and the perpetual bickering and failure that followed from it. If it wasn't recounted in such detail it would be a good sketch for a Shakespearean play ("Three Unwise Gentlemen of Westminster", perhaps). But of course personal tragedy, with its interest in the many details of slights and reconciliations has to be recounted in detail if it is to be cathartic. Whether or not this is a true account I think it will overstay its welcome with all but the real political fan or election enthusiasts like me. However, I did enjoy it.
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148 of 168 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
William Hague once joked in the House of Commons that the only title that Lord Mandelson lacked under the Brown Government was that of Archbishop. Perhaps the only reason for this is that Mandelson's "Jesuit like fervour" thus far has been generally been lavished on politics, although nothing should be ruled out. Love him or hate him Peter Mandelson is the consummate politician and media showman. Watching interviews by him in support of the book he is still playing down the level of visceral hatred that consumed the New Labour Project but for every one page of analysis in "The Third Man" there are at least another twenty which highlight the cronic dysfunction and the bitter tribalist soap opera that consumed British Government since 1997. Reading this book you sense clearly that Mandelson was at his "best" as the spinmiester starting work for Neil Kinnock, then as one of the architects of New Labour. He was of course at that time the man with the terrible moustache, not yet outed by Matthew Parris but the with a fearsome reputation building as a late 20th Century Machiavelli as he intimidated the media and other politicians but combined this with a sinister charm and waspish wit. His ability to think on his feet is clearly second to none, but it comes no where near to his plotting skills and you forget how closely he came in 2008 to destroying George Osborne in the Oleg Deripaska affair.

Of the two great protagonists in the "Third Man" allegedly Tony Blair is happy with Mandelson's portrayal. Yet it is far from sympathetic, indeed Blair is portrayed as a man bent on action but someone who was fundamentally weak when it came to dealing with Brown and his supporters.
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A conservative review 20 Aug. 2010
Format:Audio CD
I decided that I wanted to read an account of the New Labour years following the recent change in Government. After some debate, I decided to go for this book over the various other main contenders for a few reasons. Firstly, I didn't have the patience to wait for Blairs, secondly, I simply couldn't believe I would get any sort of frank account from one of the Alistair Campbell ones. Finally, I just had a gut feeling that this would be particularly honest and open in terms of the Blair/Brown relationship as I didn't see what motive Mr Mandelson would have for holding back, something not the case with the other authors I mentioned.
What a good decision this turned out to be. The account is very open, astonishingly so in places, and makes for an entertaining read, or should I say listen, as I actually had the audio CD version, which was if anything enhanced by Mandelson doing the reading.
As with any book, people need to read this and make up their own mind, but what really struck me about this was the sense that New Labour really never achieved what it promised due to the relationship between Blair/Brown, and I did sense genuine regret from Mandelson on this. Tony Blair actually comes across pretty well, but Gordon Brown comes across very poorly (if we are to believe this account and many others that support it). Mandelson provides strong evidence that for the first few years of power Mr Brown convinced himself he had been cheated out of the top job, which led to constant attempts to outmaneuver and undermine Blair, to the extent that it really did affect the success of New Labour.
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By Mark Pack TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At his book's title suggests, Peter Mandelson does not hold back in these memoirs from placing himself not only at the heart of New Labour but also at its top, variously using the phrases the three musketeers or the triumvirate to describe himself and the two Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Mandelson is also, alongside Peter Watt and Deborah Mattinson, part of another trio - Labour insiders who have recently published their account of life in New Labour. They all scatter some compliments about Brown through their books, but the overall picture painted of Gordon Brown is a deeply unflattering one. It's a picture of a once talented politician and strategic thinker who spent over a decade in a sulk at not becoming Labour leader, frequently indulging in highly partisan infighting and repeatedly pushing to one side policy priorities as so many at the top of Labour were consumed with trying to keep the Blair-Brown show from completely imploding.

As Mandelson records it, even Gordon Brown (speaking to him in 2008) admitted, "`It was all so wretched between us all - you, me, Tony. It was so wasteful! We could have achieved so much more. We still did a lot, though. Perhaps surprisingly.' `I agree,' I replied. `What on earth were we doing? We doubted each other. We read everything into each other's motives and actions.' He was right, I said. `You say everything we did through the prism of "We want to destroy you." We say everything you did through the prism of "You want Tony out." It was a sort of mutually assured destruction'."

The picture of a Labour Party deeply split and distracted by this personality politics is not new, and was previously painted by journalists such as Andrew Rawnsley and James Naughtie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exc item, fast delivery, thanks.
Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EXCELLENTLY WRITTEN AND VERY INTERESTING
Published 5 months ago by A. T. Hickman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight into what really happened - or is it? More questions but a good read.
Published 6 months ago by R. Mountjoy
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved Lady Morrison's book on Mandelson's grandfather, Herbert...
I found myself agreeing with everything he had to say - the power of the pen! Better than Blair's autobiography & I loved Lady Morrison's book on Mandelson's grandfather (Lady... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lindsey Clare Gee-Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting and insightful
Interesting to follow the relationship of the 3 co creators of new labour. A useful insight from the one man close to two prime ministers.
Published 7 months ago by Neil Presland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a very good purchase, quick delivery, thank you
Published 7 months ago by maureen Diane Galvani
4.0 out of 5 stars At the time of publication, so soon after the ...
At the time of publication, so soon after the fall of the Brown dynasty, I vowed never never to buy these memoirs. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Graham Hooker
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
As stated
Published 9 months ago by Lynne Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars revealing and thought-provoking read
Love him or hate him, Mandelson writes eruditely and passionately about the Party he clearly adores. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr J B-M
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read!
A very good read that just makes you realise how flawed Gordon Brown was! The Tories could've been out of power for a generation, if, he hadn't been so stubborn!
Published 13 months ago by Mr Adrian M Gaskin
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