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Tony Benn: A Biography

Tony Benn: A Biography [Kindle Edition]

Jad Adams
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £14.99
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Product Description


Benn s character shines through this fat but very readable biography --Daily Telegraph

Told with considerable grace and style --Sunday Times

Fascinating reading --Daily Express

Told with considerable grace and style --Sunday Times

Fascinating reading --Daily Express

Told with considerable grace and style --Sunday Times

Fascinating reading --Daily Express

Told with considerable grace and style --Sunday Times

Fascinating reading --Daily Express

Product Description

Tony Benn has been portrayed as both hero and villain, as a creative and as a destructive force. This comprehensively revised edition of Jad Adams's classic biography, is written with unparalleled access to Benn's private records, and describes the long and turbulent career of one of the most charismatic politicians of the last hundred years. The first biography to have been written with full access to the Benn archives chronicles the behind-the-scenes story of Benn's bitter battles with every leader of the Labour Party since Gaitskell. It details his service in the governments of Wilson and Callaghan, his role as a champion of the left during the Labour Party's long period in opposition, his retirement from Parliament, to spend more time involved in politics in 2001, and his subsequent emergence as a leading figure of the British opposition to the war in Iraq.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2135 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (31 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WV3GA2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #261,347 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am working now on the world release of my Women and the Vote: A World History which will be published in 2014 by Oxford University Press. I am very excited to be seeing this project through to publication as it is the culmination of 25 years of work on radical and nationalist figures. I have been able to add to knowledge I already had and do extensive new work to create a world picture of the relationship of nationalism to radicalism seen through the prism of votes for women.

This year saw the release of my Kipling as a paperback by Haus.

I was very pleased at the attention my Gandhi: Naked Ambition received. It is published in America by Pegasus under the title Gandhi: The True Man Behind Modern India. There has been a deal of interest in foreign language editions, and a Portuguese version was published last year.

I have updated my biography of Tony Benn which originally came out in 1992. I have written new chapters to take in the last twenty years of Tony Benn's very active life, and revised previous chapters. The new book is published by Biteback.

My work has concentrated on radicals and nationalists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hence my interest in Benn, the Nehrus, Gandhi and Pankhurst.

I have also worked on characters from the 'English Decadence' of the 1890s, such as Ernest Dowson, and I am planning a book on 'decadent women' writers.

Thank you for your interest in my work. For personal details, news etc, please refer to my website:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Weighing in at 550 pages, including a long and detailed index, Jad Adams's book is just the sort of traditional and detailed work of biography that befits a politician who was an MP for half a century and who became a government minister, won promotion to the Cabinet and served his last day as a minister all before most of the current generation of ministers were even in Parliament.

Tony Benn's career was not only lengthy, it was high profile and - at least before the twilight years as 'the nation's favourite retired politician' - deeply controversial. This newly revised biography does a good job at telling the story, albeit in a slightly unusual style. The narrative has a friendly account of Benn's career based on Benn's own records and interviews with himself and his supporters, studded with critical comments from others. The reader is left with plenty of information on how unpopular Benn was with many of his Labour colleagues, let alone those in other parties, but it makes for a slightly disjointed picture as Jad Adams only rarely tries to reconcile the two conflicting accounts. Thus, for example, we get a picture of Tony Benn as a warm, charming, charismatic and intelligent man and also one of a man who repeatedly found his career undermined by a lack of popularity amongst his fellow Labour MPs. It is a shame the book does not do more to try to reconcile these sorts of contradictions.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read! 20 Mar 2012
Regardless of what you think of Tony Benn he's a great character in British politics (unlike all the saps hanging around Westminster nowadays; sadly I suspect Benn might be part of a dying breed) and this book does a great job of highlighting that. I've read some of Jad Adams' books before (his biography of Emmeline Pankhurst was a great read) and really enjoyed it; it's great to read a biography of a political figure that isn't so obviously biased in one direction. I don't want bias. I want facts, which are well written and painted with colour. This book has that. In these days of New Labour it's easy to forget that staunch socialists like Tony Benn were once at the very forefront of the Labour Party - this book is sure not to let you forget, with its brilliantly written accounts of Benn's clashes with the Labour leaders of days gone by. It also does a really great job of recounting how Benn was involved in the movement of opposition to the Iraq war. If you're looking for a really thorough, well written bio on Tony Benn then this is it. A great read that I'd really recommend.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting overview of political history 9 Nov 2012
By Karl's
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A lot of Tony Benn's career is well-known as are his views but it is still immensely fascinating to read about the major issues throughout the years and Tony's approach to the issues of the day even if it made him at odds with his own party. This book does a great job of showing how that happened.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good 20 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a gift and the receiver has reviewed it for me. The book is really good and interesting read
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10 of 29 people found the following review helpful
To Tony Benn, history is an endless parade with himself taking the salute. He has recorded his own life in such detail that it is hard to see the need for an admiring biography. However, Jad Adams has updated the one he wrote twenty years ago: Tony Benn (Biteback Publishing £14.99).

I skipped at once to the chapter on Benn's Deputy Leadership challenge in 1981. As Denis Healey's chief of staff in that year I am a biased critic. But I do know what happened in that contest and Benn's friends and foes agree that it represented the summit of his influence on British politics. It gets only 12 pages out of nearly 500 and these are inaccurate and inadequate.

Throughout that contest Benn claimed that it was about "the issues", which he pronounced like a long sneeze, but Adams does not analyse Benn's actual platform. Here's how we saw it in the Healey camp, and if Adams thinks we were wrong and unfair he offers no evidence for this in his book.

First and foremost, we saw it as a giant ego-trip - as did many of our opponents on the Left. Benn tried to identify loyalty to the Labour Party with loyalty to himself. His campaign put out badges saying "Vote Benn, Vote Party Policy", as if party policy belonged to him. His own loyalty to that policy was highly selective (for example, over NATO and Ireland) but he appointed himself as its sole custodian.

Second, Benn exploited the perennial paranoia of Labour activists over betrayal by their leaders. He put out a specious narrative about the 1974-79 Labour governments, and his role in them, and attributed their alleged failures to the personal weakness or secret treacherous agendas of other ministers. He peddled a seductive fantasy: achieving socialism simply by amending the governance of the Labour party.
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