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Our Special Relationship

Con Coughlin is the defense and security editor of London’s Daily Telegraph and the author of several books on Middle Eastern themes: Hostage, about Lebanon in the 1980’s; A Golden Basin Full of Scorpions: The Quest for Modern Jerusalem, a presentation of the city through the voices of residents; and Saddam: King of Terror, a profile of Iraq’s “indefatigable” erstwhile strongman.

American Ally, which was first published in the United States, is an attempt to dissect the superficially paradoxical relationship between the “conservative” George W. Bush and the “left-wing” Tony Blair.  To this end, Coughlin has interviewed both men and many of their associates and aides and plowed through reams of largely indigestible books and documents searching for telling information.  The result is as detailed a study as is likely to be available until the chief protagonists start publishing their memoirs, key official documents are declassified, and the many anonymous sources quoted by Coughlin identified.

Mr. Coughlin, whose father was also a Telegraph journalist, has a “hawkish” reputation.  As he put it in a June 2003 article, he is “someone who has argued consistently in favour of taking military action to remove Saddam,” this attitude being a Telegraph tradition.  In 1995,...

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