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Labour Inside the Gate: A History of the British Labour Party Between the Wars (International Library of Political Studies) [Paperback]

Matthew Worley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Jan 2009 International Library of Political Studies (Book 4)
The period between the wars was a watershed for the Labour Party as it transformed from a failed alternative to the Conservatives to a majority party of government. After a slow build-up, it went on to win a landslide victory that brought in the Attlee government of 1945. 'Labour Inside the Gate' is the first study dedicated to this period in Labour's development. In this comprehensive history, Worley examines the parliamentary Labour Party and the growing network of constituency parties. He explores Labour's shifting identity at a national and local level and the evolution of a party policy that would drive the historic Attlee government into office.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: I B Tauris & Co Ltd (30 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845113322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845113322
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'An excellent, wide-ranging and thoughtful book' --Andrew Thorpe, Professor of Modern British History, University of Exeter

'A well-researched and thoughtful reappraisal of the Labour Party's history between the wars...likely to be the major work on the subject for many years.' --C.J. Wrigley, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Nottingham

'An interesting and well-researched study of the Labour party from the end of the First World War in September 1918 to the declaration of the Second World War in September 1939.' --Robert Taylor, Tribune

About the Author

Matthew Worley is Lecturer in History at the University of Reading and the author of Class Against Class and editor of In Search of Revolution (both I.B.Tauris).

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Labouring Over Labour 15 May 2013
Matthew Worley has attempted to write a history of the Labour Party, rather than the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), during the inter-war period by 'examining both the Labour leadership and the experiences of the men, women, trade unionists and socialists who built and sustained the party apparatus from 1918'. It's an ambitious objective but one predicated on a misunderstanding of the Party and its historians. He suggests previous histories have been broad party accounts of Labour's progress, detailed examinations of particular stages in the party's history, autobiographies and biographies of leading party figures, thematic approaches and studies of particular regions or localities.

He opines, 'to examine adequately the history of Labour, it is necessary to consider the priorities, perspectives and activities of those members who sustained the party in the localities; to assess the relationship between the PLP, the party centre, its affiliates and divisional organisations; and to recognise the differentiated contexts and ways in which the Labour Party emerged, developed and fought to represent its constituents'. However, researching the minutes of fifty constituency parties out of more than six hundred can hardly be considered substantial, notwithstanding Worley's extensive writing on the subject.

The traditional view of Labour's pre-war growth was one created by increased trade union membership and the weakness of a minority Liberal government dependent on its support. The Party had been divided over such issues as Lloyd George's 'People's Budget" and support for the militant Suffragettes. Ramsay MacDonald, who was generally acknowledged as the Party's most effective personality, constantly emphasised the parliamentary road to socialism.
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