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on 18 March 2013
Have had the book a very long time but as I do not read very much, it is still unfinished. As far as I have read is very interesting and I find this guy quite interesting.
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on 12 January 2013
The book arrived on time. It was well packaged and reasonably priced. It was a good buy and I would use this company again.
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VINE VOICEon 20 September 2011
Were you to have asked me, prior to reading this book, who was my favourite political biography, I would have replied, Chris Mullin. The reason for that choice was based upon the fact that here was a man who could laugh at himself, as well as others. Mullin has no pomposity and the same can be said of Alistair Darling. The advantage which Darling holds over Mullin is that he held a senior government position (Chancellor of the Exchequer) during a significant historical era (the financial crash of 2008).

It is refreshing to read a political biography in which the main character was not the only person who realised, the exact situation, from day one, and how it should be handled. Alistair Darling is generous with his praise and quick to acknowledge the input of his colleagues, even when they are not bosom buddies.

Reading this book made me realise just how serious the banking crisis had been. One of the great problems with life today, when news is to hand twenty-four hours a day, is that a news programme needs sensation. Everything becomes the most serious crisis that man has ever faced and, naturally, the listener becomes blasé. Darling's book is written in a much more modest style and so, when he paints a picture of near collapse, it is so much more chilling. The section dealing with the banks is more gripping than any financial thriller that one may have read. Darling is honest enough to admit that nobody, himself included, really knew how to deal with events and leads us through the path that he, and Gordon Brown, took to reaching an effective course of action.

Darling is also of great interest when dealing with the Labour Party leadership. He served at close quarters with both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He does not make one into a saint, and the other into a sinner, as so many of these biographies have. His account of the Brown government is particularly valuable. Gordon Brown is something of an enigma: he is obviously intelligent, clearly not strong upon personal relationships and he undoubtedly had some bad luck. Darling adds to this by showing a certain level of paranoia. Brown seems to have genuinely believed that the Treasury was trying to bring down his premiership: were I to be a psychologist, I might suggest that this was a guilt complex brought about by his clear attempts to topple Tony Blair from this branch of government. But, I am not, and so I wont!

This book was one of the lower key releases subsequent to the demise of the Labour Government. I believe that, in the long term, it will be considered one of the most significant. Anybody interested in the World financial situation, or the British Labour Party, will find this book demands a place of pride upon their bookshelf.
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on 4 January 2013
This is an honest, readable and wry account of the banking crisis, Labour's response to it, and the state of the British economy.
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on 10 October 2014
Very good an enjoyable read:-) liked the time line of events provided at the end of the book. Did not agree with it all..
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on 26 October 2011
Found that the book was vey interesting and gave an insight into the working of Goverment,especially the relationship between Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown.
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on 28 August 2012
I was really looking forward to reading this book... and still am but I'm struggling. I've picked it up 5 times to start and 5 times I've put it down again. I just can't get into it. I think it'll be one of these books that once you get past the initial barrier - and it is a big one - it'll be a thoroughly enjoyable read. I've moved on however and may go back to it one day.
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on 8 January 2013
Very good job we had darling and not brown
This book appears to tell the truth with no spin very good
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on 12 September 2011
Misled by pre publication hype, I rather expected to get several hundred pages of Brown bashing! Certainly Darling paints an unflattering picture of the former Prime Minister, the temper, outbursts and inability to act as a team player we knew about, but Darling tells us more.'It was obvious to me even at this early stage in his premiership that there was no sign of clarity or direction' Damning words indeed and Darling goes on 'It was all about tactics rather than strategy.'
The book is a careful and detailed analysis of the banking crisis in Britain from the near fatal collapse of Northern Rock and RBS. Musing wryly, as he prepares to pour public money into this ailing bank, Darling comments that some of his Labour predecessors would have loved doing this to a bank. We are told all the details of this terrible crisis which led us to a breath away from finding all cash points closed down. Darling takes us up to, but does not dwell on, the election of 2010. He claims that Labour lost'because the public did not believe that we dealt with the economic crisis as well as we should have done.' You like me, may believe there was more to it than that.
The book is not as gossipy as Mandelson's nor as adolescent and celebrity/media obsessed as Campbell's and so in some sense it is not such a good read. I am not any kind of economic expert, but the prose was clear enough for me to follow what went on in these turbulent times. It is a valuable addition to the chronicles of New Labour
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on 12 January 2012
This account of Darling's time as Chancellor has the virtue of being comparatively short and well written.

Darling is a level headed witness to the last three years or so of the Labour government which included the banking crisis, the recession and the implosion of the government. He does take time to point out the inconsistencies and unworldliness of the opposition who dreamed it was 1979 again. He also has some interesting sidelines on Blair and Brown.

Darling has a good story to tell as it is clear that after the Northern Rock collapse he was well prepared for the problems of the US banks collapse and RBS. He demonstrates that he was able to handle the civil service properly and with authority. The response to the recession was hampered however by infighting with Gordon Brown. Darling seems to be level headed throughout, as was my memory of him from this time. Perhaps he was too level headed and should have left.

One point that emerges is that Blair and Brown were obsessed with their detailed knowledge of the previous Wilson and Callaghan governments and their shortcoming. This meant that they avoided rows at all costs and were nervous about doing obvious things such as bank nationalization and higher tax rates because of the way that previous labour governments had been portrayed. They or rather Brown made his biggest mistake in abolishing the 10% rate though the mistake was probably not to realize and admit there was a mistake. Darling understands all this but ultimately he was not going to win any argument with his Prime Minister. The book will be a useful contribution to the eventual history of the period and an antidote to some of the stuff which has come out. There is one mistake in that Tommy Docherty is described as "late" when happily as I write he is still among us.
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