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A Strange Eventful History: Democratic Socialism in Britain [Paperback]

Edmund Dell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

5 Mar 2001

A major history of the decline and fall of one of the dominant ideologies of this century.
’This powerful book should be widely debated’ KENNETH O. MORGAN, INDEPENDENT

’There are few people better placed to write a history of British democratic socialism than Dell… This knowledgeable and lively book should be read by Tories on a "know thine enemy" basis as well as by socialists who want to know where it all went wrong. What makes this book superior to others of its kind is the historical expertise that Dell displays. He places the New Labour phenomenon in its proper twentieth-century context – "Labour spent the first 18 years of the century acquiring socialism and the subsequent eight decades disembarrassing itself of it"’ ANDREW ROBERTS, DAILY TELEGRAPH

’Dell’s huge offensive is in a class of its own… He claims that Labour refused to make the hard choices necessary to ensure the country could succeed in a fiercely competitive world… and blames a commitment to socialism for much of this. This is the view of a hard-headed politician who was a much more than passive witness to many of the interventionist policies that he now ridicules….This highly readable book breaks new ground in its assessment of Labour governments by relating them to the wider international economy’ ROBERT TAYLOR, FINANCIAL TIMES

’Edmund Dell’s massive survey of the idea of socialism is brutal and severe. This strongly argued and learned book focuses on the contradictory meanings attached to British socialism…’ KENNETH O’MORGAN, INDEPENDENT

’A remarkable human being and a remarkable writer of contemporary history, who had reflected deeply and honestly on his many-sided non-academic experience’ JOHN VINCENT, SPECTATOR



Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (5 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006530567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006530565
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 450,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Reviews for The Chancellors:

‘The best book this year’
Alan Clark

‘Fascinating’
Gordon Brown

‘Magisterial’
Norman Lamont

‘Illuminating’
TLS

‘Splendid’
Financial Times

‘Merciless’
Peter Hennessy

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

’There are few people better placed to write a history of British democratic socialism than Dell… This knowledgeable and lively book should be read by Tories on a "know thine enemy" basis as well as by socialists who want to know where it all went wrong. What makes this book superior to others of its kind is the historical expertise that Dell displays. He places the New Labour phenomenon in its proper twentieth-century context – "Labour spent the first 18 years of the century acquiring socialism and the subsequent eight decades disembarrassing itself of it"’
ANDREW ROBERTS, 'Daily Telegraph'

’Dell’s huge offensive is in a class of its own… He claims that Labour refused to make the hard choices necessary to ensure the country could succeed in a fiercely competitive world… and blames a commitment to socialism for much of this. This is the view of a hard-headed politician who was a much more than passive witness to many of the interventionist policies that he now ridicules…This highly readable book breaks new ground in its assessment of Labour governments by relating them to the wider international economy’
ROBERT TAYLOR, 'Financial Times'

’Edmund Dell’s massive survey of the idea of socialism is brutal and severe. This strongly argued and learned book focuses on the contradictory meanings attached to British socialism…’
KENNETH O’MORGAN, 'Independent'

’A remarkable human being and a remarkable writer of contemporary history, who had reflected deeply and honestly on his many-sided non-academic experience’
JOHN VINCENT, 'Spectator'


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Edmund Dell's style is very dense, in the sense that every sentence packs in a lot of information. As such it requires quite careful reading rather than being a book one can skim through and get the gist. However, it is all the more rewarding for all that. The sheer depth of analysis and information gives one the sense of receiving the unabridged, 'from the horses mouth' account. At times Dell demonstrates a rare wry humour, especially for the perceived short comings of the characters in this history. I read this book as my first political history text because I wanted to know what the left was for, since the end of the Blair/Brown government had left me confused. Dell maps out the shift from social democracy in the Fabian tradition epitomised by the much misunderstood clause 4, through the idea of managing capitalism for greater equality in the style of Tony Crossland, all the way up to the Blair government in waiting and its, by comparison rather watery and insipid, ideas about 'fairness', and social justice.
For anyone, like myself who wants to understand the origins and aims of the left in Britain, this book is simply brilliant.
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