A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine: The Last Diaries Paperback – 24 Apr 2014
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"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)
The final volume from the pre-eminent diarist of his generation.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
I never had chance to ask Dad if he had decided. What I do know is that Tony Benn is still missed because he cared about the little people. Recently I have been researching my family tree, going back through several stages of great grandparents to the start of the 19th century. As with most families, there are tales of happy times despite poverty. One of my great grandmothers in a census was described as ‘a pauper’ at age 79. It would be easy to get over-sentimental and say that for all her hard work and endurance that was what her life amounted to: poverty. Nothing more, nothing less.
We have to remind ourselves that these ancestors I write about are only a few generations away. I thought that these days of hardship were at an end. That was until I was involved in caring for my mother when she was discharged from hospital too soon. Evidently it is common practice for patients to be discharged from hospital before they have recovered because they need to free up the beds. I had no intention of complaining to hospital staff who were already over-worked, along with the social workers and carers, who tirelessly go about their work. I wrote to Jeremy Hunt, hoping that I would get a response from the man himself. Ah, but no, silly me, I am just one of the little people. After he got one of his sidekicks to write to me, I then wrote back to him again, hoping this time I would get a reply. Nope. Third time lucky? I don’t think I’ll bother. I’ll just remind myself of his indifference when the General Election comes around.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't really say much as it was purchased as a present. But it was greatly received by the person involved as it completed his collection. 😊Published 7 months ago by Roy666
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