Books of the year 2010 | Steve Richards

The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour by Peter Mandelson


A mountain of books followed the demise of the Labour government, the weirdest and most insecure administration in postwar British history. The books are surprisingly good. The previous Tory government was bolder, but its members published cautious memoirs. Labour's stars became braver when they wrote than when they ruled. In The Third Man: Life at the Heart of New Labour (HarperPress, £25), Peter Mandelson's authentic voice lights up every mischievous sentence of a truthful and witty account. Tony Blair's A Journey (Hutch­inson, £25) is also highly readable, displaying his wit and also his capacity for alarmingly simplistic analysis. Polly Toynbee and David Walker's The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? (Granta Books, £18.99) is an illuminating assessment that focuses on policy rather than personality.

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This article first appeared in the 22 November 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Advantage Cameron