Cook leads posse of authors ready to throw the book at Blair

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair can expect a mauling from the books which will be the talk of this year's political dinner parties.

According to friends of Robin Cook his new book, The Point of Departure, out in the second half of next month, "will make waves".

Mr Cook was Foreign Secretary until he was unexpectedly downgraded to the post of Leader of the Commons last year.

His book will chart the battle he fought to reform the House of Lords. Mr Blair's advisers claim it was Mr Cook's fault that the attempt ended in embarrassing failure. He can be expected to tell a different story.

In past years, those mainstream publishers prepared to handle books on politics have commissioned writers known to be sympathetic to Tony Blair.

Faber and Faber, for instance, have previously published Blair's Revolution, by Peter Mandelson. But this autumn they chose to bring out Pretty Straight Guys, by the journalist Nick Cohen, a persistent left-wing critic of the Government.

Peter Riddell, columnist for the Times, is regarded as one of the Government's more sympathetic observers, but his book Hug Them Close, an analysis of the "special" relationship between Washington and London, may not make comfortable reading in Downing Street. According to one source in the publishing world: "It shows how Blair has let himself be bamboozled by Bush."

Blair's Wars - A Liberal Imperialist in Action by the political editor of the New Statesman, John Kampfner, is indicative of the change in the political mood in that Mr Kampfner appears to be generally supportive of five of the six wars into which Mr Blair has taken the UK, but not of the most recent action in Iraq.