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The Point of Departure: Diaries From the Front Bench Paperback – 2 Aug 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; New Ed edition (2 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743483774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743483773
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


This book is great fun to read. It has the authentic touch of both the great and the trivial issues that dominate the daily life and the grind of ministers in any government" Guardian 'Robin Cook's Point of Departure provides the best insight yet into the workings of the Blair cabinet. His diary entries are highly readable, and sometimes very funny' Elinor Goodman, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph 30/11 'Cook does not accuse Blair of deliberate deception. Cook's restraint makes an even more damning case. He guides the reader towards a devastating guilty verdict on the Prime Minister without making too many sweeping judgments himself. While narrating a tragic and humiliating failure in foreign policy, Cook also manages to be very funny' Independent on Sunday, Political Books of the Year 14/12 'Instant history can tell us how events appeared before they became obscured in the fog of hindsight. For hindsight is the great enemy of the historian. We forget, all too easily, that what is now in the past once lay in the future. Instant history, especially when, as with Robin Cook's Point of Departure, it is based on the diary of a participant, is history written when the outcome was still unknown' FT, UK Politics 'The best-written and most thoroughly researched of the post-election batch of cabinet biographies,' Peter Kellner, Evening Standard. 'This thoroughly researched and well-crafted biography has both revelations and insights to offer about the life of one of the most intriguing members of this government,' Andrew Rawnsley, Observer 'An admirable instant biography, taking in all its subject's trials and tribulations since he came to office,' Anthony Howard's political books of the year, 1998, Sunday Times "Devastating on how Blair found himself taking Britain to war in the shadow of President Bush, after 'grossly distorting', in Cook's phrase, the threat of Saddam's weapon's to the world" Sunday Times 29/8


As the Iraqi conflict led to his resignation from the Cabinet, Robin Cook, former Foreign Secretary, focuses on the build-up to and the consequences of the war. Through diary entries and commentary, he explores how the excitement at Blair's victory in l997 - and the very real advances in his first parliament - gave way to a decline in public confidence, deepening challenges to parliamentary democracy and an increasing loss of momentum in his second parliament. Based on first-hand experiences of the Cabinet and Commons since the last election, Cook explains how decisions came to be taken and explores the consequences of those decisions. The struggle for greater democracy, the increased conservatism of the present government and the march to war provides a dramatic and compelling story from one of Labour's most brilliant politicians.

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