Ernest Bevin in his own right was a first class politician and could show the key political players today a thing or two. Throughout this fascinating and indepth piece of writing (which never descends into incomprehensible jargon) Bevin's personality, political style and volcanic energy shines through. Alongside this Bullock manages to place this in the political context of post war Britain. As with all authors, bias can't help but come through. A key example of this being Bullock's assertion that Bevin's sole aim was to get the U.S. onside against the Soviets. Its a small point, but having studied the career of Bevin in the past i couldn't help but get the point in ;-). Bullock in the preface states a valid point that Bevin's role in history has been somewhat forgotten in recent years. Hopefully this is a trend that can be reversed as Bevin helped directly and indirectly in forming entities that still exist today - NATO, the U.N, to name but a few. He also had a role in setting into motion events that would ultimately lead to the formation of the European Union (in my view anyway ;-)). Masterful, enthralling and a rewarding read. Its a biography, a social history, a political history. Its a story of the making of modern Britain, its role in the world, and above all else the pivotal role of one Ernest Bevin. Enjoy.
Alan Bullock provides a fascinating insight into the experience of not only Ernest Bevin as a British Foreign Secretary during the years 1945-51, but also of the Labour party in government during those years. Of particular interest is Bullock's fine description of the multiple external pressures that Bevin was under in order to fulfill his role as a British foreign secretary (e.g. Britain's post-war economic bankruptcy, the emergence of the Cold War, the reconstruction of Europe and Germany, and the future of the British empire) as well as pressing personal circumstances (Bevin was a man of ill health, hence his premature death). In addition, the reader gets an often funny and warm portrait of a man burning for his political belief in a way which is rare to find today.
Alan Bullock's magnificent account of Bevin, his life and career, is spoiled only by the many 'typo' errors in my copy of the book itself. Some of these were such that it almost changed the meaning of the text! A pity because Bullock is a terrific author - Bevin very much a man for his times. However, I wish I had bought this book 'new', rather than a crappy second-hand copy via Amazon. Maybe the previous owner of this copy traded it in to the bookseller after being disappointed by the typo errors..?
An interesting book, written by an historian overtly sympathetic to his subject and to his subject's politico-economic philosophy, but - alas - somewhat spoiled for this reader by (presumably) not having been proof read: there is a large number of misprints throughout the book.