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The Blair Years

The Alastair Campbell Diaries

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Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
A revelatory account of Tony Blair’s tumultuous leadership, The Blair Years gathers extracts from the diaries of the man who knew him best: Alastair Campbell—Blair’s spokesman from 1994 to 2003, his press secretary, strategist, and closest confidant. It is a compelling chronicle of contemporary British politics and the rise of New Labour, providing the first important record of a remarkable decade in Britain’s history.

Here are the defining events of the time, from the Labour Party’s new dawn to the war on terror; from the death of Princess Diana to negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland; from Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq to the Hutton Inquiry of 2003, the year Campbell resigned his position. Here also are Blair’s relationships with world leaders and heads of state, including presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But above all, here is Tony Blair up close and personal, making the decisions that affected the lives of millions, under relentless and frequently hostile pressure.

Often described as the second most powerful figure in Britain, Alastair Campbell is no stranger to controversy. Feared and admired in equal measure, hated by some, he was pivotal to the founding of New Labour and the sensational election victory of 1997. Campbell spent more waking hours alongside the prime minister than anyone, and his diaries—at times brutally frank, often funny, always engrossing—take the reader right to the heart of government.
The Blair Years is a story of politics in the raw, of progress and setback, of reputations made and destroyed, under the relentless scrutiny of a 24-hour media. Unflinchingly told, it covers the crises and scandals, the rows and resignations, the ups and downs at No. 10 Downing Street. But amid the landmark events are insights and observations that make this a remarkably human portrayal of some of the most influential people in the world.

A completely riveting book about life at the very top, told by a man who saw it all.
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A revelatory account of Tony Blair’s tumultuous leadership, The Blair Years gathers extracts from the diaries of the man who knew him best: Alastair Campbell—Blair’s spokesman from 1994 to 2003, his press secretary, strategist, and closest confidant. It is a compelling chronicle of contemporary British politics and the rise of New Labour, providing the first important record of a remarkable decade in Britain’s history.

Here are the defining events of the time, from the Labour Party’s new dawn to the war on terror; from the death of Princess Diana to negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland; from Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq to the Hutton Inquiry of 2003, the year Campbell resigned his position. Here also are Blair’s relationships with world leaders and heads of state, including presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But above all, here is Tony Blair up close and personal, making the decisions that affected the lives of millions, under relentless and frequently hostile pressure.

Often described as the second most powerful figure in Britain, Alastair Campbell is no stranger to controversy. Feared and admired in equal measure, hated by some, he was pivotal to the founding of New Labour and the sensational election victory of 1997. Campbell spent more waking hours alongside the prime minister than anyone, and his diaries—at times brutally frank, often funny, always engrossing—take the reader right to the heart of government.
The Blair Years is a story of politics in the raw, of progress and setback, of reputations made and destroyed, under the relentless scrutiny of a 24-hour media. Unflinchingly told, it covers the crises and scandals, the rows and resignations, the ups and downs at No. 10 Downing Street. But amid the landmark events are insights and observations that make this a remarkably human portrayal of some of the most influential people in the world.

A completely riveting book about life at the very top, told by a man who saw it all.
Product Details
Hardcover (816 pages)
Published: July 31, 2007
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307268310
Other books byAlastair Campbell
  • All in the Mind

    All in the Mind
    A Novel
    Alastair Campbell’s powerful first novel is a gripping portrait of the strange dependency between patient and doctor. Martin Sturrock desperately needs a psychiatrist. The problem? He is one. Emily is a traumatized burn victim; Arta a Kosovan refugee recovering from a rape. David Temple is a long term depressive, while the Rt. Hon. Ralph Hall MP lives in terror of his drinking problem being exposed. Very different Londoners, but they share one thing: every week they spend an hour at the Prince Regent Hospital, revealing the secrets of their psyche to Professor Martin Sturrock. Little do they know that Sturrock’s own mind is not the reassuring place they believe it to be. For years he has hidden in his work, ignoring his demons. But now his life is falling apart, and as his ghosts come back to haunt him, the only person he can turn to is a patient. Set over a life-changing weekend, Alastair Campbell’s astonishing first novel is both a comedy and tragedy of ordinary lives. It is rich in compassion for those whose days are spent on the edge of the abyss.

    The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Volume One

    The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Volume One
    Prelude to Power, 1947-1997, The Complete Edition
    As Alastair Campbell said in the introduction to The Blair Years, it was always his intention to publish the full version, covering his time as spokesman and chief strategist to Tony Blair. Prelude to Power is the first of four volumes, and covers the early days of New Labour, culminating in their victory at the polls in 1997. Volume One details the extraordinary tensions between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as they resolved the question as to which one should stand to become Labour leader. It shows that right from the start, relations at the top were prone to enormous strain, suspicions and accusations of betrayal. Yet it also shows the political and personal bonds that tied them together, and which made them one of the most feared and respected electoral machines anywhere in the world. A story of politics in the raw, Prelude to Power is above all an intimate, detailed portrait of the people who have done so much to shape modern history. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Volume Two

    The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Volume Two
    Power and the People, 1997-1999, The Complete...
    The second volume of Campbell's riveting diaries, rejoining New Labour as they come into power. Power and the People is the second of four volumes, and covers the first two years of New Labour government, beginning with their victory at the polls in 1997. Volume Two details the initial challenges faced by Labour as they come to power and settle into running the country. It covers many of the memorable events of the period: from the Omagh bombing to President Clinton's 'relations' with Monica Lewinsky. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Burden of Power

    The Burden of Power
    Countdown to Iraq--The Alastair Campbell Diaries
    The Burden of Power is the fourth volume of Alastair Campbell's diaries, and perhaps the most eagerly awaited given the ground it covers. It begins on September 11, 2001, a day which immediately wrote itself into the history books, and it ends on the day Campbell leaves Downing Street. In between there are two wars: first Afghanistan, and then, even more controversially, Iraq. It was the most difficult decision of Tony Blair's premiership, and almost certainly the most unpopular. Campbell describes in detail the discussions with President Bush and other world leaders as the steps to war are taken, and delivers a unique account of Blair as war leader. He records the enormous political difficulties at home, and the sense of crisis that engulfed the government after the suicide of weapons inspector David Kelly. And all the while, Blair continues to struggle with two issues that ran throughout his time in government -- fighting for peace in Northern Ireland, and trying to make peace with Gordon Brown. And Campbell continues to struggle balancing the needs of his family with one of the most pressurised roles in politics. Riveting and revelatory, The Burden of Power is as raw and intimate a portrayal of political life as you are ever likely to read.

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