In this final volume of diaries, Tony Benn reflects on the compensations and the disadvantages of old age. With the support of a small circle of friends and his extended family, he continues his activities on behalf of social justice, peace and accountability in public life, to a background of political change and the international economic crisis.
Following an illness in 2009 the diaries, kept for over sixty years, cease. Published here alongside these last diaries are Tony Benn's highly personal insights into the challenges of old age and failing health, of widowhood, and of moving out of the family home after sixty years.
Finally, we share in Tony Benn's hopes for the future based on his years of experience and his natural optimism.
©2013 Tony Benn (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
Benn's scathing view of Blair is entertaining.
He reads the part well, narrating in Benn's 'voice'.
His insight into his own frailty is emotive.
Tony Benn has always seemed enigmatic. A somewhat unfathomable but nevertheless charismatic man, full of contradiction. A socialist with strong Marxist leanings, but one born to title and privilege. I've lived through his most influential times. He's one of a very singular few politicians who retained both their personal and political integrity. Even before it became fashionable to do so, Benn had seen through and denounced the sham Socialism presented by Blair.
I haven't read his earlier diaries and I took this book as an audible download shortly before he died. With that poignancy aside, this record and his reflections are so incredibly relevant at a number of levels. Politically, he was something of a seer and a maverick. One who saw through sham, was beguiled by prospect of influence and remained true to his roots of socialism.
As an individual, his fears and fragility come across so well. As a man, he's unafraid to express both his love and loss. That's exceptional. He explores the process of getting older with candour and humour. Unexpectedly, this book kept me awake until long past the wee hours over the last few nights. His insight, information and views have made me think about the loss of an apolitical diarist, a husband, father and grandfather. He comes across as an honest raconteur, a dedicated politician regardless of his political persuasion, a gifted individual who could view any situation with insight and compassion. But most of all, a man who loved his wife and family above everything. A moving and remarkable legacy.
Michael Jayston's reading in this audible version is, in my view, outstanding. He captures nuance and inflection to perfection.
What a great listern and although Michael Jayston did a great job I didnt half miss the Benn lisp
This listen certainly gives you pause when dealing with an older person as I believe i have been guilty of discounting them where Tony has stamp that assumption into the ground.
Thanks Mr Benn
Having been worried that Tony not narrating his own words for the first time would be a problem I was very pleased to find that Michael Jayston was a perfect casting to put over his authentic voice.
It was good to hear how busy he was keeping during this period and as with other volumes of his diaries it is interesting to hear his perspective of times I remember well. In some ways this help create a greater understanding of his perspective in the diaries of times before my knowledge.
Hearing his excitement at still being able to occasionally find a role in significant events was great. Also hearing his joy at the comings and goings of his family was pleasing.
The account of his Elders' trip to Africa was very interesting.
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine
Immensely listen-able. Hard to listen to the final diary and of a man I have admired for so long.
Tony Benn's humour.and honesty, as well as insight offer an intelligent opinion and viewpoint of the political world and of global events.
We have lost many of our great statepersons and thinkers in recent years(such as Benn and Mandela). Whom do we have left to inspire our young?
I liked the honesty of Tony Benn, and his reflections on life.
It showed an honest account of one mans descent into old age.
Yes, if I had had all the time.
I hope there is more.
The unintentionally funny bits, largely revolving around how much the author likes somebody based on how much the person listens to and agrees with him. Eg: "I like X she really listens to me" and "X is a good guy, he agreed with everything I had to say".
No, but I must say he does a very good "Benn" voice.
Yes. I think the only person allowed to play him would be Michael Sheen.
I always worry about people who are right about everything. Benn describes these kind of people as "sign posts" as opposed to "weather vanes" as if it were desirable to be so stubborn, undiplomatic, unempathetic and unpragmatic. However, the author's subconscious is less certain: "I dreamed last night that I was wrong about everything." Benn is a successful diarist but was an unsuccessful politician. He never had enough power, and unfortunately that is what politics is all about. There's no point knowing it all if not enough people believe you. It's all a shame really because I'm roughly on the same side of the political devide as him...
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