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25 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Politics
I enjoyed reading these diaries, which take us through what for me are the most interesting years of Benn's career - the 1980s. They are well-written and provide a great deal of useful information for anyone interested in politics, especially students of politics. Benn's combines serious, in-depth thoughts with lots of humorous and frivolous observations, so there is...
Published 21 months ago by T. T. Rogers

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25 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars factual reportage pleasantly written.
This book will provide the reader with an insight into the minutae of how the Labour Party was run over the last 50 years, but from an interesting viewpoint. You see although the party was ostensibly socialist, for Benn and his fellow travellers, it was not quite socialist enough. To be truly socialist, the Labour Party was to transform British life to make it...
Published on 11 Mar 2008 by Paul T Horgan


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Politics, 22 Nov 2012
By 
T. T. Rogers - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed reading these diaries, which take us through what for me are the most interesting years of Benn's career - the 1980s. They are well-written and provide a great deal of useful information for anyone interested in politics, especially students of politics. Benn's combines serious, in-depth thoughts with lots of humorous and frivolous observations, so there is something here for everyone.

Tony Benn is really from a lost, colourful era when politics really existed and there was at least the pretence of an ideological cleave between the two main parties. That era is now long-gone, replaced by managerial attitudes and spin.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent condensed version of the diaries, 24 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Benn Diaries: 1940-1990 (Kindle Edition)
I have read most of Tony Benn's diaries, but this pulls together the essential points without losing any of his inimitable style.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but a bit scary, 10 May 2013
By 
J. C. Shaw (Herts, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I've just finished reading this and it has certainly been an easy read.

Unfortunately with a diary or an autobiography you're always going to end up reviewing the person rather than the book....

There are some curious anomalies in his account - for a teetotaller he certainly goes to a lot of parties! And this champion of the working classes attends dinner parties where the ladies withdraw. And then he gets to run the Post Office (which must have also included telephones though they don't get much of a mention) and he gets totally preoccupied with getting the Queen's image off the stamps rather than improving the service, or reducing the costs to the user. And he also comes into contact with the sort of dead management hand that public services generally have - and criticises it: which is odd given that he spends most of the rest of his life wanting to impose it on everything.

But it is disarmingly honest. He does not hold back for admitting that when he turns up in Corby to sympathise with the steel works being shut down, he had been in the Cabinet that had authorised the closure! Though he admits this in the book - not to the steelworkers of the day. And there is the time in the seventies when he goes to the dentist and realises that all the equipment there is made overseas: so who killed UK manufacturing if it was already dead in the seventies? He was of course Secretary of State for Energy when an awful lot of mines were closed - though the book is silent on that. Perhaps that is in entries not selected by Ruth Winstone. But then he also admits later on in the book that the destination of the Plutonium reprocessed from the Magnox reactors was never revealed to him when he did that job either.

When I picked this substantial (600+ page) book up, I did not really expect to finish it and the fact that I did finish it is a tribute to the way it's written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful historical document from one of history's actors, 10 July 2014
By 
Huw Davies (Taunton, England) - See all my reviews
Tony Benn was one of Britain's best-known politicians for over 50 years and for most of those years he also kept a highly detailed diary which he dictated every night before bed. This book brings together his writings from 1940-90, including diary entries and letters from his early years in the Royal Air Force in Africa during World War Two.

From early on one can see how Benn made such an impact. He was always a highly opinionated person who held deep socialist convictions from his early 20s. It is true he did radicalise somewhat during his time as a minister (something which is rare in British politics for all politicians) but he always believed in the rights of the people to choose and that the state should have a role. These diaries accurately display that.

Benn's writings are highly insightful, be it on personal issues like love and parentage or the political issues of the day. The sections on his time as a Cabinet minister are a particularly interesting document on the workings of the civil service in the 1960s and '70s. Some might say the culture is still the same now in the 2010s as it ever was.

The arguments for his various standpoints are always well-argued and structured. I personally disagree with many of his views but one cannot flaw his reasoning and his integrity as a thinker is never in doubt. By the end you find yourself highly in tune with his philosophy - a testament to the personality of these diaries.

This book acts as a detailed historical document from one of history's actors, an insight into British politics of the second half of the 20th century and a handbook to the Bennite philosophy. Recommended to all those with an interest in history, politics and biography.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Benn Diaries, 4 May 2014
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Bought as a gift for someone who is interested in Benn's life and politics. Covers a long period of his political life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insite, 30 April 2014
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This review is from: The Benn Diaries: 1940-1990 (Kindle Edition)
I was always a big fan of Tony Benn's, but that said these diaries provide a fascinating incite into the politics of the period.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fifty years of British political history., 29 April 2014
A whistle-stop of fifty years of British political history, chronicled by an insider. Tony Benn was arguably the best diarist of his generation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A complete record, 28 April 2014
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Rev. T. J. Carter (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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i found it very convenient to have all the diaries bound together in one volume. Each diary deals with the challenges of the times and Benn's observations and views on those challenges.The single volume bridges all the changing times through which he lived.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting to read., 25 April 2014
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David Gee (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Benn Diaries: 1940-1990 (Kindle Edition)
It is fascinating to read about what was going on in global politics and local Labour Party shenanigans from a first hand personal point of view. TB diaries are very readable and he never shies away from including his emotions within the text. I was just becoming aware of politics in the late 70's and TB mentions many party leaders as they come up through the ranks. I've found it quite a page turner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tony Benn, 25 April 2014
By 
W. S. Trotter (JARROW, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Benn Diaries: 1940-1990 (Kindle Edition)
I am plodding through my own history and it is bring back many memories, it is well written and has inspired me to write a diary, I am enjoying reading the book.
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