The Accidental American

James Naughtie

02 January 2014
320 pages


Tony Blair's affair with America is one of the most compelling stories of our time. He is the Prime Minister whose bonding with George W. Bush imperilled his political future in Britain, while becoming a hero to many Americans after 9/11. In this powerful and compelling narrative, James Naughtie asks why America has so taken him to their hearts, and what this means for our politics, our leaders and the kind of country we are.

In seven years, Tony Blair has turned the ‘special relationship’ into something of a love affair. With unparalleled knowledge and using the testimony of a wide circle of intimate contacts, Naughtie traces the roots of Blair’s American obsession – through intimacy of the Clinton years to controversy of the Bush administration’s War on Terror – showing how he has revelled in the adulation and respect showered up on him.

However this veneration has come at a price. As Blair is attacked by recalcitrant members of his own party and distrusted by an increasingly suspicious electorate, America is remains in his thrall. But should John Kelly prevail over George Bush, how will Blair react?

The Accidental American is an important and timely book, written with wit, verve and an acute eye for the contradictions and intrigues behind the Prime Minister’s American adventures. This is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the enigma of Tony Blair.