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on 20 October 2012
Ac is an incredibly interesting character with a fantastic story to tell. Unfortunately the way he tells it spoils it for me. I get it, he's printed it the way he wrote it, as quite a shorthand quick account. But for me this format lacks real thought provoking elements and is frankly difficult to read.

It is good at getting across the sense of the always on pressure of politics and his personal life certainly suffers as a result. But there are only so many times you can read "GB and PM aren't getting on at all at the moment" before it becomes annoying.

Equally he seems to take for granted that the reader knows all the background to events

I enjoyed reading to get a sense of politics but I will not be reading volumes 2,3,4.

I hope he writes an autobiography because this is just written too poorly to really enjoy
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on 12 July 2010
This is a great read - fascinating, enjoyable and informative in many ways. The book serves as an account of the lead-up to one of the most significant elections in British post-war history and as a primer on how to run a highly effective campaign. Alastair Campbell lays bare the competing tugs and the inevitable tensions that arise in the midst of any political campaign and shows how a now-legendary communications operation delivered a landslide win for a Labour government. I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in modern politics and the science and the art of campaign communications. Personal political persuasion aside, anybody with a direct or indirect professional involvement with campaigning or communications in the public or the private sector will learn a great deal from this book. In my view it is as compelling an account of campaigning as Pennebaker's documentary, The War Room, the definitive record of Clinton's road to the White House, masterminded by Carville and Stephanopolous.
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on 1 September 2010
Look I pretty much despise this man and what he stands for and the impact he has had on politics. But if I only read books from people I admire then that's a very small shortlist.

So I expected to be enthralled, infuriated, my blood would boil, passions would rise..... and you know what? This is seriously dull. I mean really really really dull. I took this, Rawnsley's and Mandelson's book on holiday with me (yes I'm that sad) and this was jaw droppingly sooze inducing. Rawnsleys books is terrific, Mandelsons's is self serving tabloid trash but eminently readable. Try them first. If you really get stuck read this - especially if you have insomnia and need an extremely effective cure.............
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on 29 June 2010
alistair campbells diaries are a great read for those who like the political scene and for some who don't i enjoyed the blair years and thought this one was also interesting well done AC.
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on 21 August 2011
To read a diary really allows you to be there. Yes of course this is Campbell oriented ~ it is a diary but what a fascinating account. Very easy to read.
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on 9 May 2013
Having read Burden of Power (Campbell's most recent published diary) I decided to go back to the beginning. There does seem to be a distinct difference in pace between the two books, Campbell appears to have much more energy in Prelude to Power. Prelude to Power is an interesting account, particularly if you look at it against the current backdrop of Labour gearing up towards the 2015 general election.
The style of writing can take a little bit of getting used to, but it is worth keeping going, clearly concisely written with just the right amount of gossip. My sole criticism is that the print is too small, which can be off-putting.
All in all worth a read.
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on 20 August 2010
I have an interest in political diaries and also an attachment to Labour, even New Labour. Nevertheless, I found this book tedious and disappointing. Other reviewers have also commented that it simply seems to be a day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of all the squabbles and bickerings of the characters at the heart of the New Labour "project". Apart from being a disappointment to any-one, like me, who has previously tried to maintain a good opinion of Blair & co., this is annoying at a literary level, because it is simply not interesting. Other political memoirs are filled with accounts of conflict between similarly egotistical personalities, but the issues tend to be points of substantive importance. Tony Benn's or Barbara Castle's diaries, for example, are largely accounts of long-running arguments. But they are arguments about matters of principle and political strategy. The "arguments" described here are at the level of who-said-what-to-whom, who-was-somebody's-favourite, who-has-been-left-out-of-a-meeting. Give us a break, Alistair. If that is,in fact, the reality of these years, then in truth, it would be better not to burden the reading public with any of it.

I write this with disappointment, because I admire Campbell as a political operator and, notwithstanding his book, remain grateful to him for his contribution to the Labour Party.
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on 7 June 2015
Campbell's diaries provide a view of what was happening inside new Labour as it happened. This opening chapter sets the scene and positions the main players up to the 1997 election. A fantastic series.
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on 28 October 2015
Fantastic item and in brilliant condition. Alot cheaper than on the high street. A must have book. One ive been wanting to read for a long time. Will definately be recommending this book to others.
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on 5 August 2010
The book has an oppressive effect. Daily accounts of arguing and character assassination is made all the more unpleasant by Campbell's use of initials to refer to the antagonists. Unbelievably, there is no simple alphabetical list for decoding these initials. If you don't know the initials of everyone involved in politics 15 years ago, you have to read through 9-page cast list which - unaccountably - is arranged in order of Labour party seniority.

I was sure the inner workings of power would be fascinating but Campbell renders it so negatively - he's always ill, always unhappy, everyone else is always stupid or malicious in his view - that what might have been exciting becomes overwhelmingly depressing.

If you want to understand the rationale for New Labour, forget this book. If you wish to read of endless meaningless battles over nothing, you'll love it.
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