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Books: Question of trust for Blair and Bush.

Byline: JACK DOYLE

THE ACCIDENTAL AMERICAN: TONY BLAIR AND THE PRESIDENCY by James Naughtie, Pan, pounds 7.99

Poodle or prayer partner? Chump or conniver? The problem with all the badges critics pin on Tony Blair about his relationship with George Bush is none of them really stick. Only Blair the liar captures in many minds the impression of deceit, deliberate or otherwise, that surrounded Number 10 through the entire war episode. As James Naughtie titles the final chapter of his updated paperback on the special relationship in the Blair era, it's A Question Of Trust.

This excellent book is a timely reminder of how Britain's relationship with its bigger, richer cousin across the Atlantic has been the defining issue of Tony Blair's second term.

Accident or surprise? Naughtie makes a strong case for both.

After 9/11, Naughtie explains, the prime minister re-wrote British foreign policy, and made an unpopular president his closest ally and friend. Terrorism fears, power politics, his Christianity - all and more were the reasons why. The story is a compelling one of political transformation, and will be Blair's claim to greatness.

Written as smoothly as his voice is on the Today programme, Naughtie's book is also well sourced and colourful, if occasionally lacking sharp edge - rather like his interviewing style
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2005
Words:215
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