Bertie Ahern's memoirs make for an engaging read up to a point, but his failure to deal with the controversies that dogged his final days as Taoiseach and a rather lukewarm assessment as to how this country found itself in the current economic mess despite his stewardship of affairs, is something of a let down.
It's not that this reviewer is pointing the finger solely at Ahern for Ireland's fiscal woes - but a more sobering reflection on how boom became bust over night would have a provided a worthwhile addendum to his years in active political life.
Patrick Bartholomew Ahern was born in Drumcondra in 1951, and from young age was always interested in politics, stemming from a family tradition steeped in republicanism. He recalls in detail his election to the Dail in 1977 and the massive effort undertaken by him and his campaign team in securing the seat. The 'Drumcondra Mafia' was born and Ahern's ability to woo the electors at subsequent ballots served him well.
As Ahern rose through the ranks of Fianna Fáil, he soon cultivated the 'man of the people' image, a figure seen regularly in Fagan's and other hostelries for a jar and at Croke Park to cheer on his beloved Dubs.
In the halls of power, he always seemed to back the right horse and his account of the turmoil within Fianna Fáil in the early 1980s; the coalition of FF & the PDs in 1989 to the signing of the Good Friday and the stitching together of the European Constitution 1n 2004, makes for interesting reading.
There was also the doomed Presidential bid of Brian Lenihan; Albert Reynolds' resignation as Taoiseach; his own subsequent election as Fianna Fáil leader, before finally landing the big job in Government Buildings after the 1997 election. Ahern gives an interesting insight into many of the personalities involved - Charlie Haughey, David Trimble, Ian Paisley or Bill Clinton. To others, he can't help but deliver a broadside coming shortly after singing their praises.
It seems that Bertie can't help but get the dig in, yet more pointedly, accentuate his importance to the Irish public, whom he believes stood by him when the media (in his view) were hounding him prior to the 2007 Election.
Amid all the fall out from the Mahon Tribunal, the author believes the public took pity on him and so returned Fianna Fáil for a third time. A more accurate assessment of how the hat-trick was achieved may be the voters' belief in the 'better the devil you know' theory; a Mullingar Accord that failed to capture the imagination and credibility issues surrounding Enda Kenny.
While no one will doubt Ahern's tenacity in helping to broker the Good Friday accord and the success of the Fianna Fáil machine at election time - both given a good airing here - his insistence in wallowing in self pity at the way the Tribunals conducted their business and his subsequent stepping down as Taoiseach is surely a diminishing currency at this remove. An everlasting legacy after reading through this account of a politician who had many days in the sun, but the light for him has faded faster than he or any of his loyal lieutenants would have thought.