DC Confidential Hardcover – 10 Nov 2005
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|Hardcover, 10 Nov 2005||
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a marvellously entertaining and readable book. (Andrew Gilligan THE EVENING STANDARD)
The chapters on 9/11 and on the Iraq War are totally absorbing and often quite moving. (Cal McCrystal THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
the book is of great value to anyone interested in diplomacy and foreign policy. (Bruce Anderson THE INDEPENDENT)
the delicious portraiture, razor-sharp character assessments and the sharing of undiplomatic discretions, are all beautifully, and often comically, presented. (James Cusick THE SUNDAY HERALD)
he provides some captivating insights into modern diplomacy and American life. (Siobhan Murphy Metro)
He tells a juicy tale. (Simon Jenkins SUNDAY TIMES)
this is an important book about what it was like to be Britain's most senior and lustrous ambassador at a time when the prime minister enjoyed a direct line to the White House for which there are few precedents. (Martin Kettle THE GUARDIAN)
For all his colourful and funny stories, the enduring value of his picture of the Blain years is the way Meyer shows this Government steadily ripping up the rules. (Simon Edge DAILY EXPRESS)
an entertaining and informative read. (Sean Donlon THE IRISH TIMES)
a masterpiece of elegance which places the steletto between New Labour's shoulder blades with panache. (Clive Aslet COUNTRY LIFE)
informative and enjoyable. (Maurice Hayes IRISH INDEPENDENT)
a gem of a book. (DUBLIN EVENING HERALD)
Riveting and candid memoir of life behind the scenes as US Ambassador and Prime Minister's Press Secretary.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Meyer witnessed the demise of the Clinton presidency; a veteran of the diplomatic corps, he'd also seen Thatcher's foreign policy in action. He points to the spinelessness of Blair's approach compared to the Iron Lady's. Although Meyer supported the invasion of Iraq, he is quite disparaging about New Labour's conduct. Britain has effectively become a US poodle.
Meyer's book has caused acute embarrassment in political and diplomatic circles, and will almost certainly lead to further censorship of civil service memoirs and leaks. It provides a vital perspective on the workings of the Labour Party and its failure to think through the invasion and occupation of Iraq. There are anecdotes and insights aplenty, and it is a book which has its fascinating and entertaining passages, but it's not one which will be to everyone's taste.
If you are interested in politics and foreign policy, then this is an engaging and informative read. Serialised in the 'Guardian', it may be absorbing in small doses, but it's not really a book you'd choose for bedtime reading. It's essential message is that Blair has settled into a cosy little relationship with the US, so much so that British foreign policy is taken for granted by the White House. Any expose which throws light on the way our politicians behave is to be valued, but this is probably a book which is better read as edited highlights, not one which will rivet your attention from cover to cover.
Also, he does not pull his punches when it comes to offering judgements upon the actions and intentions of major political fugures, such as Blair, Straw, Prescott and many other leading New Labour ministers.
His reminiscences about earlier diplomatic postings in both the the US and Germany are informative and amusing in equal measure. In particular, he deftly conveys some of the flavour of both countries' political traditions and bureaucratic traits, and is illuminating on the social and political landscape of the USA west of the eastern seaboard.
The latter part of the book, dealing with pre-and post-9/11 is a riveting read, and provides a balanced overview of US and UK foreign-policy activities in this fraught period. Overall, then, a sharply-written, well-told account of a diplomatic life in both Germany and Washington D.C., packed with interesting anecdotes and comments - sometimes acerbic, sometimes affectionate - about the realities and rewards of overseas postings.
The book is full of anecdote but hardly any real polticial gossip. He's very carefully to say nice things about almost everyone and if he is disparaging about Blair and New Labour it's nothing we haven't already read in the press. If anything he strives to give a rounded, balanced, diplomatic view of Blair and friends although it is possible to detect a note of disgruntlement that his efforts were not always appreciated by Blair and often suspected. Meyer would not be the first person in public life to feel this way about our current glorious leader - he joins quite a list of disgruntled ministers and back benchers.
My conclusion is that it's worth reading and gives you a fascinating insight into the goings on in Washington during a very tumultuous period. This book is also a good explanation of exactly what amabassadors and diplomats do for us in far flung places.
Drawbacks: the book feels a bit lightweight, and doesn't explore in depth many of the most interesting themes on which it touches – eg whether UK interests suffer from No.10 Downing Street trying to run foreign policy. Much of the stuff about the loveliness of his wife made me cringe, but might appeal to some readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating insight into what went on in DC in the run-up to the Iraq War and, indeed, to diplomatic protocol - a must-read for anyone who wants to find out more about... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amlodhi
I have listened to Sir Christopher on the radio and watched him on TV for years and his viewpoint has always been worthy of consideration. The same applies to this book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Stephen Timms
Would have liked the book to be longer - it felt rushed in parts.Published 16 months ago by diane sheila milligan
Excellent - an enthralling behind-the-scenes view, articulate & "hands-on". Actual description of Special Relationship especially interesting. Local Borders connection.Published 18 months ago by Lindsey Clare Gee-Turner
Not very engrossing, some interesting facts from 'our man in America' but could have been made more interesting. Could do better.Published on 8 Dec. 2013 by Mr. B. Grose
I enjoyed the writing as you gained knowledge about American and British politics without being lectured, it was good to see both arguments.Published on 6 Dec. 2013 by Janet Lancaster Lennox
I was expecting a deep "confidential" insight into American politics. What I got was a book about Mr. Read morePublished on 25 April 2013 by Thomas Rebel
Well written and incisive description of what being an Ambassador must be like. I particularly enjoyed learning, for me confirmation, of what a complete nincompoop Prescott is.Published on 10 Jan. 2013 by C.M.Brown
This book is rather like finding yourself in an airport bar and sitting next to a diplomat or other governmental official and overhearing some interesting stories, made more even... Read morePublished on 21 Dec. 2012 by Honrus Publicus
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