In this final volume of diaries, Tony Benn reflects on the compensations and the disadvantages of old age. With the support of a small circle of friends and his extended family, he continues his activities on behalf of social justice, peace and accountability in public life, to a background of political change and the international economic crisis.
Following an illness in 2009 the diaries, kept for over sixty years, cease. Published here alongside these last diaries are Tony Benn’s highly personal insights into the challenges of old age and failing health, of widowhood, and of moving out of the family home after sixty years.
Finally, we share in Tony Benn's hopes for the future based on his years of experience and his natural optimism.
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Sincere and from the heart.
Benn's scathing view of Blair is entertaining.
He reads the part well, narrating in Benn's 'voice'.
His insight into his own frailty is emotive.
Tony Benn has always seemed enigmatic. A somewhat unfathomable but nevertheless charismatic man, full of contradiction. A socialist with strong Marxist leanings, but one born to title and privilege. I've lived through his most influential times. He's one of a very singular few politicians who retained both their personal and political integrity. Even before it became fashionable to do so, Benn had seen through and denounced the sham Socialism presented by Blair.
I haven't read his earlier diaries and I took this book as an audible download shortly before he died. With that poignancy aside, this record and his reflections are so incredibly relevant at a number of levels. Politically, he was something of a seer and a maverick. One who saw through sham, was beguiled by prospect of influence and remained true to his roots of socialism.
As an individual, his fears and fragility come across so well. As a man, he's unafraid to express both his love and loss. That's exceptional. He explores the process of getting older with candour and humour. Unexpectedly, this book kept me awake until long past the wee hours over the last few nights. His insight, information and views have made me think about the loss of an apolitical diarist, a husband, father and grandfather. He comes across as an honest raconteur, a dedicated politician regardless of his political persuasion, a gifted individual who could view any situation with insight and compassion. But most of all, a man who loved his wife and family above everything. A moving and remarkable legacy.
Michael Jayston's reading in this audible version is, in my view, outstanding. He captures nuance and inflection to perfection.
Great insight to a great man
- mat brown