A unique, unprecedented eyewitness account of the thirty most critical days of Tony Blair's political career as Prime Minister, from 10 March 2003 to the end of the second Gulf War, written by the former editor of The Times. For thirty extraordinary days, in March and April 2003, Tony Blair defied street protests, party revolts, allied anger and government resignations in order to send British troops to Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein. What was it like inside Downing Street during that time? What was it like while the Prime Minister risked his job for such an unpopular cause? Why did he do it? Peter Stothard, who for a month was given unprecedented access to shadow almost every move the Prime Minister made, gives a unique view from the inside. From the 'den' of Ten Downing Street to the back corridors of the House of Commons, through councils of war in the Azores, recriminations in Brussels, personal diplomacy in Belfast and Camp David, this book takes us backstage.
30 Days throws an intimate - and frequently humorous - light on the domestic and political life of Number Ten at a time of crisis; it shows the Prime Minister's relationships not only with the President of the United States but with the writers, strategists, make-up artists and other members of the close-knit Number Ten team. It illuminates his frankest dealings with the world leaders who both backed and opposed him. Peter Stothard's fast-paced and compelling narrative is supported by Nick Danziger's remarkable photographs. The result is a groundbreaking record of history in the making, and a gripping day-to-day chronicle of four tense and tempestuous weeks.
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(197mm x 130mm x 14mm)
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
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UK Kirkus Review »
During 30 days in March and April 2003, former Times editor Sir Peter Stothard travelled everywhere with Tony Blair. The original idea had been to portray the day-to-day life of a Prime Minister who was about to celebrate his 50th birthday. The fact that war against Iraq happened to come along during those 30 days provided Stothard with a journalistic scoop, but it was an enormous irritation for Blair. The last thing he wanted at a time of personal and international crisis was a reporter hovering over his shoulder. But to his credit he didn't duck out of the commitment - he allowed Stothard to remain. The book exposes many cherished beliefs as myth, or at least as dubious hype. The 'special relationship' between Blair and Bush was not always as amiable as both sides were keen to portray. Indeed, Blair was taken aback when the Americans launched the war without telling him it was about to happen. And the much-demonised Alastair Campbell, portrayed in the popular press as a dictator at Number 10, emerges as a plain-talking but honest aide. Campbell never shrinks from telling Blair the unpleasant truth even if it is not what his boss wants to hear. Campbell is also shown to have a sense of humour. When Blair asked for ideas about how to open his televised address to the British people, Campbell suggested, 'How about "My fellow Americans..."'. Blair was not amused. Stothard's book takes the form of a diary, leading readers through days of intrigue and inexorable tension. We see Blair's reaction after being slow-handclapped by a TV audience, and his annoyance at continued public hostility to his stance on Iraq. When asked about his conscience as British soldiers were dying, he declared, 'I will answer to my Maker.' But he left no doubt whose side he believed God was on. From Number 10 to the Azores and Camp David, readers are made privy to every top-level action and meeting. A remarkable encapsulation of history, and brilliantly illustrated by Nick Danziger, whose photographs say much about the pressures on a Prime Minister at war. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Peter Stothard
Peter Stothard was editor of The Times from 1992 to 2002, the period of its greatest commercial success for a century, and is currently editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He was knighted for his services to newspapers in 2003. He has written extensively on politics and literature.