Tony Blair was America's closest ally in the war against Saddam Hussein. It was a powerful yet precarious position for the British Prime Minister, as he fought for his own future in backing George W. Bush and sending Britain's forces into Iraq. In this gripping day-by-day chronicle, Peter Stothard takes us behind the scenes as no one has before to reveal a unique portrait of a political leader under fire at the center of the world stage.
Over a period of four weeks in March and April of 2003, Tony Blair risked his status as the United Kingdom's most successful Labour Prime Minister for the chance of an unknowable place in history. Before Britain could help the United States, Blair faced a battle against his own voters, his own party, and his own allies in Europe. These were among the most tense and tumultuous weeks the world had seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In thirty days, Blair took on his opponents and won.
Through it all, Peter Stothard had unprecedented access to Blair, from Ten Downing Street and the House of Commons through the war summits in the Azores, Brussels, Belfast, and Camp David. No writer has ever been so close to a world head of state for so long at such a critical moment. Stothard brings us inside the corridors of power during this extraordinary time, offering a vivid, up-close view of an enormously popular leader facingthe challenge of his life. How Blair spent those thirty days, how he fought for his own future as well as his vision of the civilized world, how he changed, and why he survived are at the heart of this riveting inside account.
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Peter Stothard was the editor of the Times from 1992 to 2002 and the U.S. editor from 1989 to 1992. He is currently the editor of the Times Literary Supplement and lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
In the days leading up to the recent Gulf War, Stothard was granted access to the besieged world of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The result is in-depth political journalism with a touch of Upstairs Downstairs. Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement and former editor of the Times of London, draws a critical but sympathetic portrait of Blair as a politician who is willing to risk his historical legacy in order to do what he believes to be the right thing: stick by President Bush and the unpopular (in Europe) attack on Iraq. It may come as a surprise to many American readers how close Stothard believes Blair was to losing his grip on power. They might also be surprised how close Blair, a political cousin of Bill Clinton, felt ideologically to Bush-and that the two shared a religious conviction to attack Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein. Blair, he writes, "has the powerful Christian seriousness of the not-quite-yet convert." Although the book is full of Briticisms-some members of Parliament are "runners," others "wobblers"-Stothard expertly shapes a narrative in which Blair manages to stick by his principles in the face of intense pressure, although he is now facing trouble regarding what he told the British public during those prewar days. At times, the book focuses on Blair's advisers and others who serve the prime minister at the expense of Blair himself, but Stothard offers scrutiny of one of the world's most important leaders during a critical juncture in his-and the world's-history.
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