Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Dishy Look at History

"Speaking For Myself; My Life from Liverpool to 10 Downing Street" by Cherie Blair Little, Brown & Company $30 341 pages

I liked this book because Blair says what she thinks. Only at the end does she seem to become more than a little self-serving and/or defensive in the extreme (various scandals - the press never liked her.) She is refreshingly frank about money -- they never had any.

It's an interesting book for the peeks at things we'll never see -- being presented to the Queen; staying at Balmoral (take your best underwear and leave the recreational drugs at home - the maids unpack absolutely everything) or what previous Prime Ministers' wives had to say about the redecoration of the public rooms at 10 Downing Street. Norma Majors liked the new terra cotta-colored walls; Margaret Thatcher looked around and said, "This is disgusting." On her former study, she cried out, "What have you done to my lovely room? This is just appalling."

Blair never got along with the Princesses Margaret or Anne. Anne bawled her out during a State dinner for Tony Blair's support of the ban on fox hunting. The Princes Phillip and Charles were quite a bit better behaved.

She and Hillary Clinton were more professional colleagues than friends. Clinton did give her an extensive tour of the White House and how it is run. Blair and Laura Bush enjoyed a much warmer friendship and were always happy to see one another despite political difficulties.

It's another angle/point of view from a front row at British politics and well worth your time in reading it.

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