It is also, however, so unrelentingly negative about Blair, Booth, and many of their cohorts as to become exhausting and...

THE BLAIRS AND THEIR COURT

Two British journalists collaborate on an exposé of Labour Party Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie Booth—without the cooperation of either subject.

Beckett (biographer of Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan) teams with Guardian investigative journalist Hencke in an attempt to demonstrate that Blair and Booth are poseurs and liars who have used their political power wisely from time to time but should not be trusted by any voter anywhere in the UK. An in-depth biography of a sitting prime minister is by definition timely; the timeliness is only enhanced by the alliance that has developed between Blair and US President George W. Bush. Both men proclaim themselves devout Christians who are guided by their religious faith. Although something of a rebel through his university years, Blair, born in 1953, began to kowtow to Labour Party kingmakers, big-business political donors, and celebrities during his unlikely rise to the prime ministership, which he achieved in 1997. Engaged to Booth in 1977 and married to her in 1980, Blair relied on her wiliness and savvy in many of the ways that Bill Clinton relied on wife Hillary; it is probably no coincidence that Blair and Booth, Bill and Hillary, are all lawyers. Especially fascinating to celebrity worshippers among American readers will be the chapters on the relationship of Blair and Booth with Princess Diana before her death. Blair’s popularity during his first year as prime minister shot up astronomically, simply because he seemed sympathetic to Diana and her loved ones after the fatal accident, at least when contrasted with the iciness of her former husband, Prince Charles, and the remainder of the Royal family. Although the authors reveal little new about how Blair came to back Bush’s invasion of Iraq after Sept. 11, 2001, the account is filled with compelling details and told with verve.

It is also, however, so unrelentingly negative about Blair, Booth, and many of their cohorts as to become exhausting and exhaustive.

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-84513-024-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Aurum/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

more