1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Genuine insight into a genuine person,
By A Customer
This review is from: John Major The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Having lived in the UK during the Major years, the book was a personal and sometimes moving insight into a remarkably understated man. What impressed me most was his sense of historic Conservatism, as something distinct and richer than Thatcherism.
The unfortunate thing for John Major was that his triumphs as PM were at the start of his tenure - the Gulf War and the stunning 1992 election victory. After that it is all downhill. This trend is reflected in the nature of the writing where a strong undercurrent of having suffered an injustice - whether at the hands of the Bundesbank, the EU, Tory Euro-sceptics, Thatcher, the media, and ultimately the voters - strikes a bit of a discordant note. Undoubtedly Major deserved better, but these things are part and parcel of life at the top.
Although Major concedes his mistakes - far better than Thatcher ever does in her autobiography, Britain's entry into the ERM remains his blind-spot. Major continues to defend it as a sensible anti-inflationary measure that could be used in conjunction with monetary and fiscal policy, without seeming to relise that it was simply monetary policy in another guise (Britain having to adjust interest rates to maintain its currency).Even worse it was bad monetary policy - with movements in currency value and interest rates reflecting European economic factors, even where these were not consistent with circumstances in the UK.
Despite this (or perhaps even because of this), the book provides a real insight into the thinking and shaping of a man who was, afterall, PM for a reasonably significant tenure of seven years. Hopefully history will be a kinder judge to Major than the contemporary electorate was.