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Attlee: A Life in Politics

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Attlee: A Life in Politics.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds(Author)

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Clement Attlee - the man who created the welfare state and decolonised vast swathes of the British Empire, including India - has been acclaimed by many as Britains's greatest twentieth-century Prime Minister. Yet somehow Attlee the man remains elusive and little known. How did such a moderate, modest man bring about so many enduring changes? What are the secrets of his leadership style? And how do his personal attributes account for both his spectacular successes and his apparent failures? When Attlee became Prime Minister in July 1945 he was the leader of a Labour party that had won a landslide victory. With almost 50% of the popular vote, Attlee seemed to have achieved the platform for Labour to dominate post-war British politics. Yet just 6 years and 3 months after the 1945 victory, and despite all Attlee's governments had appeared to achieve, Labour was out of office, condemned to opposition for a further 13 years. This presents one of the great paradoxes of twentieth-century British history: how Attlee's government achieved so much, but lost power so quickly. But perhaps the greatest paradox was Attlee himself. Attlee's obituary in The Times in 1967 stated that 'much of what he did was memorable; very little that he said'. This new biography, based on extensive research into Attlee's papers and first-hand interviews, examines the myths that have arisen around this key figure of British political life and provides a vivid portrait of the man and his politics.

'a thoroughly impressive piece of work - authoritative, reliable andperceptive ... This is rightly billed as a 'political biography' and in therealm of politics it is remarkably sure-footed' --Anthony Howard'Very interesting and well researched. The reader gets a real sense ofAttlee's life and politics, and the portrait of him is well-rounded andnuanced. This biography will be very useful for students seeking to gain a clear understanding of Attlee and marks a useful addition to the canon of Labour history' --Matthew Worley, Lecturer in History, University of Reading'brisk, well-written and admirably clear-sighted biography' --Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

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Review Text

  • By Tooley52 on 9 May 2017

    Fascinating study of a long and busy life in politics, developing social change, coping with world war 2, unmooring India, developing nationolisation, propelling the NHS, getting on eith the US while being surrounded by disputatious colleagues.

  • By M. W. Ellwood on 12 February 2017

    Workmanlike, but dull.I should say that I recommend people read this book, despite my title and only 4 stars.It contains pretty much all that I could have expected it to contain, about Attlee the man and his politics, and what I was particularly interested in, the 1945-1951 governments, and why the 2nd government came to an end quite so prematurely. I had always wondered about that. People say they "ran out of steam", but based on this book, I don't think that's true. Attlee himself could certainly have gone on (he lived until 1967). It's true that they had lost Cripps and Bevin, but they had rising stars like Wilson and I suppose I have to say Gaitskell (although I am not a fan).It seems inexplicable now that Attlee decided to time his 1951 election based on the whim of the King, but at heart, he was a conservative monarchist, as well as being (at least in certain respects) a radical socialist. If they could have delayed the election by only a year or two, things might have turned out very differently.I was born within the Attlee government era, just in time to benefit from the new NHS (which probably saved my life as I had meningitis as a baby), and I have always wanted to know more about that period. This book leaves me wanting to know more, but it's a good-ish start.I managed to read it in several long sittings over 2 days, but a more skillfully written book could probably have been read in a single sitting.It does leave out some important things, such as the beginnings of the nuclear power programme (which ultimately could have reduced their reliance on coal). I would also like to see an unbiased history that focused on the economic questions, and discussed options that they had but which they did not choose to implement (or just did not think of ). I'm sure there were such options. After all, Japan and Germany were also devastated by war, but eventually both bounced back, and produced economic and industrial booms, much more successfully than we did. What did they do right that we did wrong? (I partially know the answer to that question, but I'd like to know more).

  • By Luke Williams on 19 November 2015

    Clement Attlee was one of the most legendary Prime Ministers Britain has ever had, and the first one to introduce a true Socialist vision that gave us the N.H.S., the welfare state and trade union rights, so any biography of him should be worth a read. Unfortunately however, the author is hyper-critical (and his Jewish bias is blatant when talking about middle-east issues), meaning Attlee's great achievements aren't fully appreciated. Considering the author is a Labour M.P., I would have thought that he'd be less negative, but his criticisms of Attlee get more unbelievable and manipulative of history as the book goes on (at one point Attlee seems to be blamed for Bevan splitting the Labour party!). Of course all governments and Prime Ministers have some failings, but don't ever forget that Attlee's government - whilst under a lot of financial pressure after President Truman disgracefully stopped the Lend-Lease agreement - turned this country around after World War 2 and gave us a Britain to be proud of.

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