- Publisher: Hutchinson
- Format: Hardback | 800 pages
- Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 56mm | 1,043g
- Publication date: 1 October 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0091797268
- ISBN 13: 9780091797263
- Edition statement: New.
- Sales rank: 328,218
As Alastair Campbell said in the introduction to "The Blair Years", it was always his intention to publish the full version, covering his time as spokesman and chief strategist to Tony Blair. "Prelude to Power" is the first of four volumes, and covers the early days of New Labour, culminating in their victory at the polls in 1997. Volume 1 details the extraordinary tensions between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as they resolved the question as to which one should stand to become Labour leader. It shows that right from the start, relations at the top were prone to enormous strain, suspicions and accusations of betrayal. Yet it also shows the political and personal bonds that tied them together, and which made them one of the most feared and respected electoral machines anywhere in the world. A story of politics in the raw, "Prelude to Power" is above all an intimate, detailed portrait of the people who have done so much to shape modern history.
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Alastair Campbell was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, in 1957, the son of a vet. After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in modern languages, his first chosen career was journalism, principally with the Mirror Group. When Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, he asked Campbell to be his press secretary. He worked for Blair - first in that capacity, then as official spokesman and director of communications and strategy - from 1994 to 2003, since when he has been mainly engaged in writing, public speaking, working for Leukaemia Research, where he is chairman of fundraising, and continuing to advise Blair, Gordon Brown and other leading Labour figures. His first novel, All In The Mind, and an accompanying award-winning TV documentary, Cracking Up, led to him being voted Mind Champion of the Year. A second novel, Maya, was published earlier this year. He lives in North London with his partner of thirty years, Fiona Millar, and their children, Rory, 22, Calum, 20, and Grace, 16. His interests include running, cycling, playing the bagpipes and following the varying fortunes of Burnley Football Club.
"There are plenty of nuggets here that are fascinating, some passages that make you wince and others that are gripping. It has historical value." Observer "Campbell is a compelling diarist ... [with] vivid set pieces ... The Campbell Diaries provide the fullest insider account so far of new Labour's ascent to power." The Times "Campbell's world is the brutal, angry, hard-driven, joky, football-crazed and intensely male world of tabloid journalism. He is a fluent and industrious reporter, with amazing stamina: it is quite a feat, at the end of days dealing with the press on Blair's behalf that he managed to get this account down." Telegraph "Hugely gripping ... all of human life is here. It makes The Thick of It look tame. And sane." Sunday Times "The abundance of extra detail throws up some richly comic moments ... Campbell's writing has much of the brutal honestly of [Alan] Clark's." Sunday Telegraph