Home Issues Leaders Recent Grid Archive Senate House VoteMatch_Quiz FAQs
 2016 Election:  Hillary's book Trump's book Bernie's book Ted Cruz's book  |   2016 Senate   Debates 

Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

The Blair Years
The Alastair Campbell Diaries

(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This is not the typical sort of book that OnTheIssues excerpts -- it is about American politics from the British perspective. Actually, it's about British politics, but our excerpts only focus on the parts relevant to American politics -- that's often a very different perspective than we're used to in America. The book itself is a diary -- which makes it even harder to read because it contains numerous abbreviations (a compendium of names and initials appears on p. 191ff) and also assumes the reader is familiar with issues relevant to the United Kingdom. If you can struggle through all that, it's a worthwhile read.

Alastair Campbell was Prime Minister Tony Blair's press secretary, and then Director of Communications and Strategy, from 1994 to 2004. That period, which is covered chronologically in this book, includes most of Bill Clinton's presidency and George W. Bush's first term. Campbell met both several times, and opines on both presidents from several perspectives. The diary also opines on Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney, and all of the other key American political players in that period.

Tony Blair was elected to Parliament in 1983, and became Labour Party leader in 1994. He was elected Prime Minister in 1997 and served until 2007. Blair applied Bill Clinton's "Third Way" in getting elected and in serving as Prime Minister. The "Third Way" means the leader attempts to synthesize a policy stance reconciling the two opposing views, usually favoring a more centrist outcome than either the left wing or the right wing would prefer. The Labour Party is the equivalent of the U.S.'s Democratic Party, so Blair and Clinton are similar both in their underlying political philosophy as well as in their policy choices. Blair also worked with President Bush, however, most famously joining the U.S. as the prime supporter of the invasion of Iraq. Blair paid the price for his loyalty to America, being labeled "Bush's poodle," and undergoing a formal investigation regarding the intelligence dossier that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger (claimed as a reason to start the war, but later proven fraudulent).

Campbell's diary covers all those events and many more. For the avid U.S. political junkie, this book provides a good change of pace -- one must read it more slowly just to get past British terms like "dossier" and "Labour". For the rest of us, these excerpts are plenty.

-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, Oct. 2013

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Foreign Policy
    Bill Clinton: Implement Brahimi report: work towards UN standing army.
    Bill Clinton: Deeply involved in UK-IRA negotiations.
Health Care
    George W. Bush: Donates to charities funding leukemia research.
Homeland Security
    Dick Cheney: Pro-Israel lobby's influence sometimes is overstated.
    Colin Powell: Concerned about Pakistani reaction to US's Afghan invasion.
    George W. Bush: Lack of Russian reaction to 9/11 shows Cold War is over.
    George W. Bush: We owe it to humanity to get missile defense working.
    Bill Clinton: Gays in military issue resulted in disrespect from soldiers.
Principles & Values
    George W. Bush: OpEd: Obsessed with punctuality; loyal but unforgiving.
    George W. Bush: I'm not great with words, and I don't care what press thinks.
    Al Gore: OpEd: Campaign better if Bill Clinton were more involved.
    Bill Clinton: Republicans won in 2000 by neutralizing issue of the economy.
    Al Gore: OpEd: In, UK Bush win portrayed as disaster.
    Mario Cuomo: We campaign in poetry but we govern in prose.
    Bill Clinton: OpEd: Respond to MonicaGate by emphasizing big picture.
    Hillary Clinton: On Princess Diana: It is hard when press invades your space.
    Bill Clinton: OpEd: Good on big picture, and backed up with details.
    Bill Clinton: OpEd: At his best when winning support to manage change.
War & Peace
    George W. Bush: OpEd: Roadmap unites world in Middle East Peace process.
    Donald Rumsfeld: Problem with UN in Iraq is its open-endedness.
    George W. Bush: Getting rid of Saddam allows progress elsewhere in Mideast.
    Dick Cheney: More "U.N.ery" just gives Saddam the chance to mess around.
    Dick Cheney: OpEd: Says "democratization" but world fears Americanization.
    George W. Bush: OpEd: Conflicted about going to UN vs. hitting Iraq earlier.
    Dick Cheney: OpEd: Polarized policy debate into Powell vs. Rumsfeld.
    George W. Bush: This is a new war: Pearl Harbor in the 21st century.
    Dick Cheney: Skeptical about Arafat's commitment and ability.
    Wesley Clark: Confronted Russian troops at Serb airport; but they withdrew.
    Wesley Clark: Chinese believed bombing of Belgrade embassy was deliberate.
    Wesley Clark: NATO is a political structure running a military.
    Bill Clinton: Reluctant but willing to use round forces in Kosovo.
    Wesley Clark: OpEd: Failure to delegate risks being swamped by events.
    Bill Clinton: Bottom line on Saddam: unfettered repeat inspections.

The above quotations are from The Blair Years
The Alastair Campbell Diaries

All material copyright 1999-2022
by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
Send donations or submit quotations to:
1770 Massachusetts Ave. #630
Cambridge, MA 02140

Home Page
Most recent quotations Archive of books & debates Candidate Matching Quiz

Page last edited: Dec 15, 2018