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Mind numbingly bad
on 8 April 2010
For my sins I decided to look at a copy of this that a friend of mine, a politics junkie, has got. After reading it I won't be buying it.
Where do I begin? I found it dull and intellectually sloppy. He may have a Ph. D. in history, but he's not an illuminating writer like Toynbee or A. J. P. Taylor. You look in vain for memorable insights: instead there's a repetition of the same, rather ill-defined, set of ideas. It's as though he wants to win the argument by bludgeoning you into submission. The whole thing seems to be borrowed (at least in spirit) from the Obama election campaign: even the title harks back to Obama's "change you can believe in". How, anyway, does the man who is a workaholic Prime Minister find time to write these books? Don't even get me started on the psychology of a man who would write this sort of guff as a form of relaxation. Please, Mr. Brown, spend more time with your family and less time with the felt tip pen.
I'm not doubting that he really does want to make lives better, but reading it I had the image of a man who is trapped in a monomaniacal fantasy; someone who dares not admit to himself that the world does not match his analysis of it. Since reality has got it wrong, it has to be changed. It's a shame that this is really all his life is about: that's unhealthy and, in the end, tragic.