A Journey, By Tony Blair

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The Independent Culture

"The gene pool going into politics is now frighteningly limited," laments the former PM in a 40-page essay that fronts the paperback edition of his memoir. But does this relentlessly upbeat "third-way progressive" (the new intro still uses that formula, and still gives zero credit to its architect, Tony Giddens) count as a mutant monster or a creative evolution of the Labour line?

This vigorous, voluminous chronicle, packed with anecdotes and apologias, will most likely change nobody's mind. But, cocky, brash, messianic and surprisingly unbuttoned, it sounds and feels like its author in a way that few such testaments do.

Historians will find a goldmine here. And, if you can imagine such a creature, a neutral reader – from the Planet Tharg, maybe? – might even enjoy it very much.