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Ellen Wilkinson: From Red Suffragist to Government Minister (Revolutionary Lives) [Paperback]

Paula Bartley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

20 Feb 2014 Revolutionary Lives
Ellen Wilkinson was a key radical figure in the 20th century British socialist and feminist movement, a woman of passionate energy who was involved in most of the major struggles of her time.

Born in October 1891 into a working-class textile family, Wilkinson was involved in women’s suffrage, helped found the British Communist Party, led the Labour Party’s anti-fascist campaign, headed the iconic Jarrow Crusade and was the first female Minister of Education.

In this lively and engaging biography, Paula Bartley charts the political life of this extraordinary campaigner who went from street agitator to government minister whilst keeping her principles intact.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (20 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745332374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745332376
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 270,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

I spoke about Ellen Wilkinson on Woman's Hour, Thursday, July 10th. You can also see a talk I gave at Portcullis House, House of Commons on parliamentary you tube - The Mighty Atom.

Product Description


Ellen Wilkinson introduces to new audiences a pioneering Labour woman. This very readable account brings to life an extraordinarily energetic and often contentious advocate of a wide range of radical causes. A feminist, communist and anti-imperialist before she became an MP, the book explores whether radical commitments can be sustained inside parliament and how a socialist woman responded to the effects of economic crisis on the communities she represented. Paula Bartley makes a passionate case for the relevance of 'Red Ellen' to the twenty-first century. (Karen Hunt, Professor of Modern British History, Keele University)

Paula Bartley shines a dazzling light on the ilife of 'Red' Ellen Wilkinson, a pioneering feminist and socialist Member of Parliament. (Diane Atkinson, author of 'The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton')

In this fascinating political biography, Paula Bartley perfectly captures the essence of Ellen Wilkinson's unorthodox approach to politics. She highlights the massive contribution "Red Ellen" made as a feminist and as a socialist MP to the development of the Labour Party and its success in the 1945 election. In the present day, as Britain battles with a seriously weakened economy, high levels of unemployment and a disaffected electorate, Paula Bartley's account of Ellen Wilkinson's passionate commitment to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people will not fail to inspire. (Mark Fisher, former Labour MP for Stoke on Trent )

'the book is clear, concise, and lively, and provides an interesting introductory insight into one of the lesser-known figures of the Labour Left.' (Gordon Bannerman, LSE Review of Books)

About the Author

Paula Bartley is an independent scholar and former Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Wolverhampton. She is the author of Votes for Women (2007), Emmeline Pankhurst (2002) and The Changing Role of Women (1996). Her work has appeared in the American Historical Review, Social History, Midland History and Women’s History Review.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ellen Wilkinson 6 April 2014
By Katbak
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyable read about a strong minded woman not afraid to support the Jarrow marchers & their families. But this is only one example of her determination and dedication to those who mattered most to her.
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