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The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour Hardcover – 1 Mar 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 811 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st edition (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670918512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670918515
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A devastating portrait of New Labour in power. For all the concentration on Gordon Brown's bullying, The End Of the Party is a much more complete account of New Labour than that. It is all the more devastating for it. Labour has rubbished it. But this is the best history of New Labour in power yet - and unlikely to be bettered any time soon (Andrew Neather Evening Standard )

Rawnsley's book is a very good one. He's a top class political journalist who finds things out and writes them down extremely well. He has excellent sources and I don't doubt what he has written. Nor do I doubt its importance. (Danny Finkelstein The Times )

It reads like a thriller (Jeremy Vine )

As fine a piece of contemporary history as his previous magnum opus, Servants of the People

(Jim Pickard )

The detail is extraordinary (Victoria Derbyshire Radio 5 Live )

Rawnsley has talked to everyone who has counted over the past ten years... A brilliant account...a sheer delight for the political connoisseur. Almost every page provides a fresh insight or piece of information not previously in the public domain... Some of his passages of description, such as the account of Gordon Brown's failure to hold a general election in 2007, or the long run-up to the Iraq War, are nothing short of masterpieces of modern political journalism (Peter Oborne Daily Mail )

This engrossing book by Andrew Rawnsley, like its predecessor a decade ago, Servants of the People, has pulled together a lot of clues. Less than a week old, it already has Westminster agog with its well-sourced but roundly denied allegations (Economist )

Andrew Rawnsley, the man who single-handedly has reignited interest in the political book...The book that brought us the 'bullygate' scandal.. Go out and buy, buy, buy it now...I'm really looking forward to working my way through it (Nick Ferrari LBC )

Unreservedly recommended (GQ Magazine )

The book's authority rests on an impressive breadth of research... This lively Shakespearian account ... the most thorough, the most enjoyable and the most original book yet written about New Labour (David Hare The Guardian )

I think the public perception of Gordon is accurate. Although I haven't always agreed with [Rawnsley's] interpretations, in the past they have always been broadly fair (Ken Livingstone )

...his racy, very readable new book The End of the Party. (Richard Ingrams Independent )

A book that displays to the full his talents as a journalist, historian and even thriller-writer. It truly is a rip-roaring tale that provokes the reader to turn the pages to reach the next colourful episode... this book...provides us with the most authoritative account of the period so far (Philip Webster The Times )

This book is a meticulously researched, authoritative and indeed devastating analysis of Tony Blair's troubled second term of government and Labour's "historic" third consecutive term... Rawnsley's retelling of familiar events is so skilful and powerful the cumulative effect remains shocking even with what we already know... Rawnsley handles the set-piece crises with aplomb, extracting every smidgen of drama but he is just as effective when analysing a landmark speech or reflecting on a theme such as Blair's uncritical championing of intelligence or flaws in Whitehall's decision-making... Flourishes of humour abound (Christopher Silvester Express )

Rawnsley has established a justified reputation over the years for getting the members of the big, happy family of New Labour to sing... the monumental scale of Rawnsley's evidential base, and his journalistic mastery of the story, make this a compelling read. The End of the Party will be a bestseller (Chris Patten Observer )

How accurate is he? Rawnsley says 'thousands' of confidential conversations over the years and 500 interviews specifically for this book have contributed to this account, and I believe him....The End of the Party is full of amazing revelations, and deserves to be read (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday )

Rawnsley does a superb job of recounting the spleen and skullduggery that have energised and debilitated the New Labour project, and he sheds new light on the tempestuous relationship between Brown and Blair... he offers the reader a front row seat... a scintillating read (Jonathan Wright The Herald )

A feast of high politics and low behaviour (Andrew Gimson Daily Telegraph )

About the Author

Andrew Rawnsley is associate editor and chief political commentator for the Observer. For many years he presented BBC Radio 4's Sunday evening Westminster Hour, and he has also made a number of highly acclaimed television documentaries.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Andrew Rawnsley has toured the TV studios for weeks making numerous robust defences of his latest book not least of the thesis underpinning the "Gordon is a bully" scandal. He has in turn been subject to the full wrath of the current government spin meisters and elected politicians such as John Prescott(oh the irony) who could barely contain his anger on a recent Newsnight. But what of the book itself?

Tom Paine had a wonderful phrase addressed to Edmund Burke that "he pities the plumage and forgets the dying bird". The same could apply to the media's reaction to this since despite the heat and noise of the "bullygate" scandal no one at all disputes the mind boggling levels of dysfunction, the sheer levels of poisonous acrimony and full force backstabbing of the Blair/Brown relationship which dominated the "heart" of British politics for so long and in one sense is still being played out.

Of course politics is a Machiavellian business and not for the faint hearted but Rawnsley's chronicle is not so much a story of a new Labour permanent revolution as a permanent row. It is a world turned upside down where Peter Mandelson can go from stating that Gordon Brown "wants to kill me before I destroy him" to one where the Prime Ministers survival depends on his former arch enemy. Clearly Armando Iannucci's brilliant "The thick of it" is actually rather tame and I must admit I laughed out loud at Margaret Beckett's guttural reaction to being made foreign secretary.

This is a very long book but to be fair to Rawnsley it is also a story very well told with real pace. It does suffer a fair quota of political clichés and the Westminster "bubble" is portrayed as the totality of British politics bar nothing else.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a decent, enjoyable read. Rawnsley writes very well and as a politics student I actually got a fair amount out of his account of the New Labour years.

However my big criticism of this book is that it is incomplete. The story ends abruptly in the months leading up to the 2010 general election, and this is no place to finish. I can only assume that this is so the book could be released at that time in order to maximise revenue.

Sure enough, the paperback is due out on 30th September and contains exactly what this book is missing. It is updated with two new chapters to take the book to its logical conclusion - through the election and the coalition negotiations that followed to the moment when Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister.

Having purchased and read this book I feel ripped off as I feel it is now essential to purchase the paperback in order to read the ending. I therefore recommend that people avoid buying a book that is missing the final two chapters by waiting until the paperback is out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a distinguished journalist Andrew Rawnsley opens up Labour for us from the time they took office in 97. Writing for the Labour-sympathising Guardian group his account rings all the more true in revealing just how much parties become virtual dictatorships when big manipulative characters like Blair and Brown are able to use their cabinets as little more than supporting cast in enacting what they believe is "the right course". This is no more evident than in the farcical way in which we were committed to war effectively by unminuted conversations in private between President Bush and (would-be president) Blair so brilliantly exposed in Mr Rawnsley's book. A huge volume but thoroughly entertaining and informative throughout.
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Format: Hardcover
Far from failing to "recognise the role of ideas in New Labour", a key element of Mr Rawnsley's thesis is that New Labour was principally a project for winning power, and that its failure adequately to think through what it wanted to do when it attained power is a major cause of its underachievement.

This is a well-written, balanced and authoritative account that skilfully weaves analysis into its narrative of events. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fabulous book of fact that soon became the most horrendous horror story I've read. Opens the door to frightening scenes of gross incompetence, total distortion of the truth, greed, avarice, bullying, theft,cowardice,arrogance beyond belief and a total disregard for this country's electorate.
All the things you think may be happening but dismiss as fantasy are all here. How the public have been fooled ! We are all aware that there are things we don't need to know but after this you would not want to. From Blair the actor to charisma-bypass Brown the hidden sides of politics are stripped bare to expose the rotten core within.
Should be made compulsory reading for all voters in the UK
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As soon as I am finishing one book, my mind turns to what sort of read I will want next. Maybe a classical novel, or a Greek tragedy, or possibly something with a bit more humour. In this fascinating new account of the demise of New Labour by the Observer journalist Andrew Rawnsley, I got some of the best elements of all these genres. Very Shakespearean, and also just like watching my favourite TV comedy ` The Thick Of It', complete with weak but power crazed politicians and their malicious spinning side kicks, who battle with each other in a stunningly vicious way. The phrase `you couldn't make it up' comes to mind again and again during this complete page turner of an account. And lots of pages to turn in it there are too - with the meat of the book taking up nearly 700 pages.

Rawnsley takes us to the heart of the New Labour action, taking up the story from the start of their second term in office in 2001. Predictably, it is the insight into the relationship between Tony Blair, the dashing, charming and media savvy Prime Minister, and his jealous, bitter and resentful Chancellor next door, Gordon Brown, which makes the most compelling reading. Blair obsessed with power and his legacy; and Brown so obsessed with taking that power away and having it for himself that he seemed to completely forget to plan what he would do with it if he got it. Some of the more astonishing revelations have unfortunately already been released to the media and splashed across newspaper front pages. Even so there are some episodes that have not been given so much publicity that seem just too bizarre for words.
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