Tags: EU | Britain | Blairs | Memoirs

Blair's Autobiography to Be Published in September

Thursday, 04 Mar 2010 01:42 PM

Will he expose the deal critics suspect carried Britain and the United States to war in Iraq? Take aim at those who dubbed him President George Bush's poodle? Describe his furious arguments with successor Gordon Brown?

Probably not. But Tony Blair promised Thursday to give the public intimate insight into his decade as British Prime Minister when his much anticipated memoir, "The Journey," is published in September.

Publisher Random House paid an estimated 5 million pounds ($7.5 million) for Blair's personal account of his time in power, after a bidding war that Washington literary power-broker Robert Barnett described as among the most fierce in memory.

The book will be closely read for revelations about the push to war in Iraq, tense negotiations to win peace in Northern Ireland and Blair's sometime troubled relationship with Brown, who succeeded him as leader in 2007.

"I have tried to write a book which describes the human as much as the political dimensions of life as prime minister," Blair said in a statement. "Though necessarily retrospective, it is an attempt to inform and shape current and future thinking as much as a historical account of the past."

In being published in September, Blair's autobiography won't appear before Britain's next national election — likely to be held on May 6. Blair won three straight election victories for his Labour Party from 1997.

Gail Rebuck, chief executive of Random House, said Blair's autobiography would break new ground.

"His book is frank, open, revealing, and written in an intimate and accessible style," said Rebuck, whose husband Philip Gould is a former adviser to Blair.

Blair will carry out a promotional tour in the U.K. and rest of the world to promote the book, which will cost 25 pounds ($38).

Blair has previously been the subject of numerous books, notably the best seller "The Blair Years," by Alastair Campbell, his former press secretary. Blair himself wrote "New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country," a collection of speeches and articles from 1997, when he won power.

Random House confirmed Blair wrote "The Journey," himself, without the aid of a ghost writer.

Brown's spokesman Simon Lewis declined to say whether the current prime minister planned to order a copy.

"He hasn't specifically mentioned that book, but I know he has a wide-ranging interest in books," Lewis told reporters.

Critics have already lampooned the book's title and a solemn Blair portrait on the jacket sleeve. Conservative Party activist Iain Dale — a former bookseller — said it looked like "the memoirs of a has-been soap star."

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