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Speaking for Myself by Cherie Blair

Speaking for Myself

by Cherie Blair

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The first pleasing thing about this book is that it is a biography of Cherie Blair, NOT of Mrs Tony Blair. The Blairs are a loving couple and Cherie supports Tony, as one would expect but, there is more.

We learn the fascinating story of her father, Tony Booth, known to many (myself included) as Alf Garnett's lippy son-in-law. Booth seems to have been an extension of his on screen character and does not sound to have been an easy man with whom to live.

We also hear of Cherie's career at the bar (law, not public house!) and the difficulties facing a woman in a male dominated environment. The most interesting sections, however, concern her relationship with the press: she admits to shooting from the hip - a family trait (see above re: her father) - but it is amazing just how much the British press can get away with printing that is simply not true. Politicians, actors and indeed most people in the public do not want to exacerbate any opprobrium in the press so, it is better to ignore the odd lie. Should one decide to fight, then one should forget career and have plenty of money - being innocent is most certainly not enough.

Cherie got herself into many scrapes with the press and she reports that sometimes Tony was cross when her antics took the spotlight away from political actions and onto soap opera. They always made up and it is surely a sign of their well rounded characters that they could be two people rather than Cherie being subsumed into a bit of Tony.

Tony Blair was the best Prime Minister that this country has had since... well, certainly in living memory and Cherie was the perfect foil: heaven knows, I would give a lot to see the pair of them entering number ten, again. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Jun 16, 2011 |
I was always a little intrigued and bemused by the negative press that Cherie Blair received during her husband's Prime Ministership, and picked this biography up with mixed feelings. However what I find was a very human woman, bright, intellegent, occasionally quirky and sometimes prone to faux pas. But certainly not someone who deserved the kind of vitriolic attention one particular national paper spent 12 years subjecting her to.

As a barrister and silk she was totally professional, respected and in control. As a wife and mother she was hands-on and committed. As an appendage to her husband, and subjected to the unpredictable and strange traditions of a Priministerial wife she was on occasions less polished, less respected and often wrong footed.

A woman of such intellect and independence is not going to settle comfortably into such a situation. However, in most instances she comported herself honorably and, often unreportedly was a valuable consort to a husband in power, and in her own right a vigourous supporter of those less fortunate in society, both on a national and global scale.

Not surprisingly perhaps, she was not going to criticise her husband on any of his decisions in regard to his job. 'Knowing Tony' as long as she had, and often not being privy to the information he had she is happy to say she trusted his judgement to make the right decisions. As a husband, he is clearly flawed, but at the end of the book she 'understands' his occasional angry outbursts taken out on her and the family, and is clearly still a woman in love with her husband and prepared to 'stand by her man' even if, on occasions she involves herself in things he has asked her not to, with mixed outcomes.

A great supporter of womens causes on a global level, striving to focus attention on inequalities and predjudice. Loyal to friends she is told are abusing her trust and rarely judgemental even of those who respect her least (one might put Alistair Campbell in this category, and his partner who worked for Cherie although often very helpful in latter years could be very cruel.).

On the whole I felt that I would enjoy this woman's company were I to have met her ( )
  Caroline_McElwee | Aug 14, 2010 |
Best memoir of "political" woman I've read. Cherie Blair is very open, warm, loving (in a non-sentimental way), down-to-earth, and witty. Most extremely subtle with regards to things that might have irritated her at the time. Would have to read a non-memoir biography of her to even begin to realize her amazing academic and other achievements. She doesn't blow her own horn but has come light-years from an interestin childhood, but one with few advantages. I (being Canadian) had very few preconceptions of Cherie - but all of them succrilous & negative. Borrowed the book from the library just to see the nasty things she revealed especially about Tony. Was so impressed by the uplifting spunk & wisdom contained, I BOUGHT a copy. ( )
1 vote c_why | Jul 9, 2009 |
4536. Speaking for Myself My Life from Liverpool to Downing Street, by Cherie Blair (read 16 Feb 2009) I found this a fascinating book, even though I have not followed British politics as much recently as I did in the 1990's. It is funny and frank, though I cannot always admire the author (wife of Tony Blair) in her moral positions, she readily admitting that she is not committed to all that the Catholic Church teaches. But there is no doubt that she has attractive aspects and in general I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It compares favorably to Hillary's autobiography. And one can sympathize with her complaint about the British press and the strain it puts on prominent people in Britain. ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 16, 2009 |
Cherie Blair was the British “First Lady” for ten years. In Speaking For Myself, she tells her life story from birth until her husband left office in 2007. Cherie’s father was a successful actor, but he abandoned his family when she was young. Having no other alternative, Cherie along with her mother and her sister lived with her father’s parents in Liverpool. Cherie’s mother worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices. Her father had children by other women, but never made much time for Cherie and her sister. Cherie’s childhood wasn’t unhappy, but it wasn’t always easy.

Cherie was the first member of her family to go to college. She got her law degree (top in her class) and married Tony Blair. Both Cherie and Tony were interested in politics, but she ended up working while he pursued political office. Tony was elected Prime Minister in 1997 and the Blairs and their 3 children moved to Downing Street. Cherie was unique among Prime Ministers’ spouses in that she continued to work. They had another child while he was in office. It seemed that Cherie was often at odds with the British press.

This book provides an interesting peek into what it’s like to be married to the Prime Minister of Great Britain. I have to admit that I didn’t understand all of the political aspects of the book - I don’t know the difference between the Labour Party and the Tories and I don’t understand their election process. All in all, it was an enjoyable book, even though there were no great new revelations. ( )
1 vote bermudaonion | Feb 12, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316031453, Hardcover)

Even if she hadn't married Tony Blair, Cherie's story would have been amazing. Abandoned by her actor father, she overcame obstacles to become one of the UK's most successful barristers. But when Labour took power in 1997, she faced new challenges: her husband was the first Prime Minister in recent history with a young family, and Cherie was the first PM's wife with a serious career.

Now, she gives a complete account of her own life--an astonishing journey for a woman whose unconventional childhood was full of drama and who grew up with a fierce sense of justice. In her autobiography she reveals for the first time what it was like to combine life as a working mother with life married to the Prime Minister. She writes about her encounters with scores of foreign leaders and her friendships with Presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as with Hillary and Laura. And she offers inside details of her relationships with the royals, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:14 -0400)

Cherie Blair's autobiography takes the reader from a childhood in working-class Liverpool to the heart of the British legal system and then, as the wife of the Prime Minister, to 10 Downing Street. It has been an astonishing journey for a woman whose childhood was full of drama, and who grew up with a fierce sense of justice.… (more)

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