jamiebowen0306 (jamiebowen0306) wrote,

I finished "A Journey" by Tony Blair today.

Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, wrote this book. It's about his period as leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister (mostly), though he does mentions the parts of his earlier life, as it fits into the story he wanted to tell.

To be honest, I found this book smug and slightly infuriating. I've now read both George Bush's and Tony Blair's book (I was interested in the run up to war) and this book was (without a shadow of a doubt) the more irritating of the two.

In the book Blair describes himself as a moralist with a vision "for good" who changed the Labour for moral reasons, and started wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and Kosovo for much the same reason.

I found his thinking about Kosovo perhaps the most illuminating part of the book. His (and Bill Clinton's) use of the armed forces in Kosovo enabled him to liberate Kosovans and bring down a tyrant (in Milosovic). Part of me wonders whether this changed his thinking towards the potential effectiveness of military action that lead him to Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know for sure, but I honestly think it does, and that's a shame because it clearly went horribly wrong the second time round for him.

Anyway, why do I spend so much time talking about war and Blair? Well, let's face it, that's why I suspect that people will read the book. It's also because Blair spends a lot of the book writing about it. Consequently it's work mentioning.

But what's the rest of the book like? Well, as I said, it's smug. Blair talks a lot about "moral force" and "moral vision." With Bush you know you're going to get a moral "tilt" to his writing because he's never claimed to be anything else. Blair, on the other hand was presented as "less that way." Had he been as explicit about his "moral vision" before the got elected, I don't think he'd have been as successful as a leader.

Reading this book forced me to compare what I had seen him present then and what he presents now, and it grated. If you don't know Blair as well or can put up with how he presents himself, you'll probably learn something from this book. If you do know Blair or find "ostentatious morality" irritating you might find this book irritating (or want to throw the book across the room).
Tags: book, book review, review

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