The Blair Years

  • by Alastair Campbell
  • Narrated by Alastair Campbell
  • 6 hrs and 25 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Biography of the Year, 2008.
Shortlisted for the Channel 4 Political Book Award, 2007.
Longlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.
The Blair Years is the most compelling and revealing account of contemporary politics you will ever hear. Taken from Alastair Campbell's daily diaries, these audio extracts chart the rise of New Labour and the tumultuous years of Tony Blair's leadership, providing the first important record of a remarkable decade in our national life. Here are the defining events of our time, from Labour's new dawn to the war on terror; from the death of Diana to negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland; from Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, through to the Hutton Inquiry of 2003. 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. Feared and admired in equal measure, hated by some, Alastair Campbell was pivotal to the founding of New Labour and the sensational election victory of 1997. As Blair's press secretary, strategist, and trusted confidant, Campbell spent more waking hours alongside the prime minister than anyone. His diaries take the listener right to the heart of government. Unflinchingly told, The Blair Years covers the crises and scandals, the rows and resignations, the ups and downs of Britain's hothouse politics. There has never been so riveting a book about life at the very top, nor a more human book about politics, told by a man who saw it all.

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What the Critics Say

"Campbell has a draught Guiness voice with a husky edge to it; he could narrate Chandler thrilers to perfection." (Christina Hardyment, The Times)
"These diaries are His Master�s Voice. They will be gasped at, and relied upon, for decades to come. Buy them, they will suck you in." (The Times)
"It is electric: a tale of sound and fury." (Book of the Week, The Mail on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Rivetting

I guess that the audiobook only contains a small fraction of the published book's 800 pages. That means it doesn't take that long to listen all the way through. There are quite a few large jumps in dates. Names of people aren't always explained - you need some background knowledge to realise who they all are. (Eg 'PM' = Peter Mandleson, 'CDS' = Chief of Defence Staff, 'Jonathan' = Jonathan Powell...). So you have to keep your wits about you.

But none of this detracts from the fascination of the many issues covered. I ended up with a feeling of a much better appreciation of many of the stories that have been in the press during the years Alastair Campbell worked alongside Tony Blair.

The narration is clear. In summary, it was a real pleasure to listen to it. I often had a wide smile on my face (eg listening to the encounters with Princess Diana) and sometimes a lump in my throat.
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- David

Engrossing

I was never much of a fan of Blair and Spin, but the diaries of the man behind a lot of the image are fascinating. Narrated by the downbeat and laconic Campell himself, all the best anecdotes are here, plus many that you might not have heard about. As an insight into how the country is run, this paints a human and surprising picture, exposing politics as how you might have feared it is as well as how you might have hoped it can be too. Very enjoyable, espescially Mandy's hissy fits, egotistical and thoroughly entertaining, I just wish it had been the unabridged version.
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- Jim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-07-2007
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks