Books of the year 2010 | Peter Wilby

Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt


Tony Blair's A Journey (Hutchinson, £25) gave me - unwittingly, I suppose - my most hilariously entertaining read of the year. From Patricia Hewitt patronising John Prescott in cabinet ("Now, John, that's a very, very good point you've just made, and it's always so worth listening to you") to sex with Cherie and his worries that a daily "couple of glasses a wine or even half a bottle" threatened alcoholism, it's a laugh a page. Christopher Hitchens can be pompous and wordy, and his account of his "love" for Martin Amis belongs in Pseuds Corner, but the renegade's Hitch-22: a Memoir (Atlantic Books, £20) has many vivid and thought-provoking passages. The late Tony Judt's Ill Fares the Land (Allen Lane, £20) is a rare example of lucid social-democratic thinking. The most disappointing book of 2010 was Ian McEwan's novel Solar (Jonathan Cape, £18.99), in which he seemed to be trying, not very successfully, to impersonate David Lodge.

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