Alistair Darling - Back from the Brink: 1000 Days at Number 11


The British and international public remembered Alistair Darling for being one of only three ministers who continuously served in the Labour Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 as well as for being Chancellor of the Exchequer during the severest financial crisis after the end of the Second World War. In 2011, Darling issued the book Back from the Brink: 1,000 Days at Number 11 offering both his supporters and critics an astonishing insight into his work in the government after he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by Gordon Brown as well as an insight into his relationship with the new leader of the Labour Party after the resignation of Tony Blair.

In his book which received an enormous response and excellent reviews, Darling simply tells his story which enables the reader to get a better picture of the thousand days of financial crisis as he has experienced it. The book also gives a unique perspective on the events that did not only affect the UK’s financial system and economy but the entire world’s financial system. Darling gives an extraordinary account of economic meltdown that started at the same time when he took over the seat of Chancellor as well as touches the tensed relations in the Labour Party including his relationship with Gordon after 2007. He honestly reveals that he was not Brown’s first choice for Chancellor despite the fact that they were friends for about 20 years and that he was heavily attacked by the Brown’s camp after he warned the British public that the country is facing the severest economic crisis from the end of the Second World War.

Although Gordon Brown is not shown in the best light, Darling does not appear to deliberately depict his former friend in a negative way or to “settle accounts” with him. On the contrary, he gives him credit and praises him for the things he considers he had done well. Similar pattern can be seen in Darling’s depiction of Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England with whom he obviously did not get along particularly well either. In the overall, Darling gives an impression that he simply wanted to share his memories from the time he was Chancellor with the reader trying to give as accurate record of the events as possible.

Lastly, Darling’s Back from the Brink is written in an extraordinary fluidly style which is rarely seen in books published by or about politicians. A politician who was voted as Britain’s most boring politician two years in a row by the Trucker’s Weekly while he was serving as Secretary of State for Transport has proven that he is everything but boring.