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From Bevan to Blair: Fifty Years Reporting From the Political Front Line [Hardcover]

Geoffrey Goodman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Sep 2003
'All through these momentous years in Labour history, indeed British history, Geoffrey Goodman has had a special ringside seat ... We all knew he had the best story to tell, and here it is. It is a triumph of character as much as journalistic skill. Everyone who had the good luck to be friendly with Geoffrey and his family, soon discovered that he was never just serving himself. He truly honoured the highest ideals of the Labour movement he had chosen to serve.' Michael Foot

'What Geoffrey Goodman doesn't know about political journalism didn't happen. This fascinating book takes us through the pass door to the corridors of power.' Keith Waterhouse

For more than half a century Geoffrey Goodman was one of Fleet Street's foremost political and industrial reporters. This book is his record of what it was like to work at the heart of British politics. Taking us through the years that followed the end of World War II right up to today, he offers a compelling story of the characters and events that shaped British political history.

Goodman's unique portraits include many of the political giants of the twentieth century. As a close friend of the great socialist Aneurin Bevan, he is able to reveal the philosophy and drive of the man who could have been Premier. Goodman also offers a behind-the-scenes account of Labour Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, whom he worked with, and brings to light new reasons why Wilson suspected the security agencies of trying to destabilise his government.

Other portraits include Michael Foot, Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath, Willie Whitelaw, Margaret Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch and Hugh Cudlipp. Then there is the still untold story of the life and bizarre death of Goodman's former boss Robert Maxwell -- was he murdered? Goodman provides convincing answers.

Geoffrey Goodman has been a journalist all his working life. When he retired from the Daily Mirror he launched the British Journalism Review -- a quarterly magazine that has now an established reputation as one of the most authoritative of all media journals.

This book brings to life a political period which has shaped all our current experiences. It will be of interest to anyone who wants an insider's account of great characters in British political history, and in particular to the evolution of the Labour party over the course of the twentieth century.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (20 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074532178X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745321783
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Geoffrey Goodman has been a journalist all his working life on a range of newspapers which include The Manchester Guardian, The Daily Herald and The Daily Mirror. He was a member of the last Royal Commission on the Press and is the winner of several national press awards including the Gerald Barry award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism. He has been editor of British Journalism Review since 1989 and currently works as a presentator and commentator for various news and current affairs programmes. His published work includes The awkward warrior : Frank Cousins, his life and times, (1979) and The miners' strike, (1985).He was appointed CBE for services to journalism in 1998.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Bevan to Blair 9 July 2004
Format:Hardcover
Part autobiography/ part history of British political and trade union life since the Second World War, Geoffrey Goodman's From Bevin to Blair: Fifty Years' Reporting from the Political Front Line is a pleasure to read. Indeed, it serves as a reminder not only of far off events, but how those same events have shaped and formed the current political scene in Britain.
Taking as his starting point his childhood in Stockport, subsequent service in the Second World War and early path to a career on fleet street with a succession of newspapers, most notably the Daily Mirror, Goodman skilfully blends not only the details of his own career as a journalist, but also the relationship between the Labour party and the trade unions.
In the hands of another writer this could seem contrived and unconvincing, however, Goodman reveals a remarkable talent for being present at the turn of events. Rather like a journalistic version of Zelig, he manages to pop up exactly when far-reaching decisions are to be made.
Friends with such Labour lights as Minister of Health Aneurin Bevin, Prime Ministers Wilson and Callaghan, as well as a sprinkling of Conservative luminaries such as Willie Whitelaw, Goodman had a front seat at much of the trade union turmoil that swirled around successive Labour governments leading to their eventual downfall in 1979 and the emergence of Thatcherism.
One of the most interesting elements of From Bevin to Blair is Goodman's ability to look back at the relationship between the Labour party and the TUC and show how their were hints of the rise of Thatcherism before it had even coalesced around the Iron Lady. When doing this, he is painfully honest - and fully aware of the opinion changing power of hindsight.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars From Bevan to Blair: Fifty Years' Reporting from the Politic 9 July 2004
By David Dadge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Part autobiography/ part history of British political and trade union life since the Second World War, Geoffrey Goodman's From Bevin to Blair: Fifty Years' Reporting from the Political Front Line is a pleasure to read. Indeed, it serves as a reminder not only of far off events, but how those same events have shaped and formed the current political scene in Britain.
Taking as his starting point his childhood in Stockport, subsequent service in the Second World War and early path to a career on fleet street with a succession of newspapers, most notably the Daily Mirror, Goodman skilfully blends not only the details of his own career as a journalist, but also the relationship between the Labour party and the trade unions.
In the hands of another writer this could seem contrived and unconvincing, however, Goodman reveals a remarkable talent for being present at the turn of events. Rather like a journalistic version of Zelig, he manages to pop up exactly when far-reaching decisions are to be made.
Friends with such Labour lights as Minister of Health Aneurin Bevin, Prime Ministers Wilson and Callaghan, as well as a sprinkling of Conservative luminaries such as Willie Whitelaw, Goodman had a front seat at much of the trade union turmoil that swirled around successive Labour governments leading to their eventual downfall in 1979 and the emergence of Thatcherism.
One of the most interesting elements of From Bevin to Blair is Goodman's ability to look back at the relationship between the Labour party and the TUC and show how there were hints of the rise of Thatcherism long before it had even coalesced around the Iron Lady. When doing this, he is painfully honest - and fully aware of the opinion changing power of hindsight.
Was there anything that could have been done to avoid the Winter of Discontent? Were the Unions and the Labour party staring at the abyss long before this time. My impression of Goodman is that he believes they were. Goodman hints at tectonic shifts in society long before the late 1970's, particularly in the 1960s. For this reason Thatcherism appears as a late arrival, catching up with the already changing mores and perceptions of society.
As a result, in parts of this book, there is a sense of oncoming doom and of an attendant powerlessness in the face of changes that were only half understood by the Labour leadership. Goodman paints a vivid picture of Harold Wilson, tired, burnt out, wanting to resign -- perhaps sensing the changes in society -- and a feisty James Callaghan, only half understanding what was coming, but railing like Lear against the rush of events: succumbing only in the last few days of the 1979 election.
In other parts of the book, Goodman provides a timely investigation of the possible plots against Harold Wilson, who with his pipe and "white heat" apparently represented such a threat to the establishment. He also gives some excellent insights into the complicated man that was Robert Maxwell, even offering his own view on the man's demise.
Journalists or readers from other countries, particularly the United States, might be surprised at Goodman's willingness to work for the Wilson and Callaghan governments in the Anti-Inflation Unit. In the U.S., where Roger Ailes received criticism for offering advice to President George Bush after September 11, the fact that there is such a thin veil between British politics and media will add another interesting dimension to the book.
Overall, this is a must read book, not only for those interested in the history of post-war journalism and industrial relations but also for those puzzled by their parent's use of so many candles in those distant 1970's. For those born after this date, the book is a reminder that the trade unions once occupied a very different position in British society to the one they do today.

At the beginning of the book, Goodman quotes from Gore Vidal's Palimpsest autobiography that "before the cards that one is dealt by life are the cards that fate has dealt." From this autobiography it is clear that Goodman took the hand fate dealt him and played it pretty well.
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