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Clement Attlee: The Inevitable Prime Minister Hardcover – 20 May 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback; First Edition edition (20 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849546835
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849546836
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 3.4 x 15.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Jago has produced a thoughtful and readable biography, and has made his own contribution to the Attlee canon with new research and insights. --Francis Beckett, New Statesman

Jago's excellent biography ... is a masterly piece of work and goes some way to redressing the balance. --Chris Hallam

Michael Jago ... has discovered some new sources and has admirably reworked old ones to show that that whilst Attlee was lucky, he has experience, determination and grit. --Keith Simpson MP

I can see myself telling researchers of the future, asking about Attlee, that Jago should be their first port of call... [B]y far the best account of his university years. --Dr Robin Darwall Smith, Fellow and Archivist of University College, Oxford

The evidence from this generally impressive book is that the Attlee governments were brimming with talent and policies. --History Today

The evidence from this generally impressive book is that the Attlee governments were brimming with talent and policies. --History Today

About the Author

MICHAEL JAGO read Ancient History and Philosophy at University College, Oxford before settling in the USA in 1980. For fifteen years he ran an educational travel business, focusing on the battlefields of western Europe. Previously a publisher and editor of a number of journals, he now specialises in biography. His biography of John Bingham, The Man Who Was George Smiley, was published by Biteback in 2013. He lives in both Chicago and southwest France.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. W. Potter on 29 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Well done, my daughter, for getting me this for my Christmas! Clement Attlee is my favourite Prime Minister, and remains so after reading this latest biography of the unpretentious little man who changed life in Britain to a far greater extent that any other Prime Minister. I was born in 1948, and feel that, almost 70 years later, I owe everything to Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan.
My one gripe is that not enough time is spent on his greatest achievement - the National Health Service. It was of course the Welsh wizard Nye Bevan who did the nitty gritty, but he was well supported by his Prime Minister who, I was slightly surprised to learn, was being groomed as Clem's successor.
The author tends to a certain extent to fall into the trap of implying that the late 1940s were a time of misery for working people. In fact, they were considerably better off that they had been before the War. It was the middle classes who were squealing because this was a government determined to improve the lot of the common people, economic crisis or not!
Jago is good on Attlee's background, his first world war career and his brilliant running of the Government in the second world war when Churchill was not there, and even when Churchill was! Churchill was the inspiration, full of bluster and bombast, whereas Attlee was the quiet, efficient administrator. Both were equally necessary to save Europe from barbarism and slavery.
Famously laconic himself, Attlee's running of Cabinet meetings was exemplary, with an agreeable determination not to let anyone talk too much!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Hallam on 10 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Few great political leaders have been so frequently underestimated as Clement Richard Attlee. In his early years, he showed little sign of becoming anything special or indeed of developing a socialist outlook. As Jago explains, for a Victorian boy of Attlee’s background born in 1883, there was simply no means of becoming a socialist. The teenage Attlee once argued that the working classes could not be expected to appreciate museums and art galleries in a school debating society. Attlee would later be embarrassed by these views, although as a lifelong champion of both the monarchy and the public school system, a conservative strain to Attlee’s thinking always remained.

Attlee seemed set for a fairly unpromising legal career until a period of voluntary work which started before the First World War transformed his outlook and which in the 1920s launched him towards politics. He continued to be underestimated, however. The first ever Oxford graduate to become a Labour MP, his rise to the leadership in 1935 surprised many. Most assumed he would be a temporary stop gap leader. In fact, he would be the longest serving Labour leader there has ever been, lasting twenty years until 1955 (Ed Miliband will need to last until 2030 to do as well! )

Churchill underestimated him too describing him as “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” despite witnessing his competence working alongside him in the wartime coalition in which Attlee eventually became the first ever Deputy Prime Minister. Churchill invited him to the first half of the critical post-war Yalta Conference on the off chance that Attlee might win the 1945 election and thus need to attend the rest as Prime Minister. But this was a formality. Churchill didn’t expect him to win.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J E I Ferguson on 13 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent and well researched biography of Britain's last principled Prime Minister.
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Format: Hardcover
On reading this excellent biography it was good to get to know Clement Attlee better as a person and it may be that there are or were some honest politicians who held to good principles after all! Also it was very revealing to see the difficult years of the first half of the 20th century through Clement's eyes, it changed my opinions about several key issues that are still effecting us today.
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