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Customer Review

25 December 2016
I knew little of Clement Attlee even though I was familiar with the names of many of his contemporaries. I didn't even know when he was Prime Minister. Shocking admission when you consider the major impact he made in Britain after the war. I was quite hooked by this book which is a long read depending on the time that you can give, I feel that I learnt a lot and as a child of the late 1940s I suppose I was one of his post war boom babies that the NHS catered to in a formidable manner and subsequently, of course. In the beginning I was slightly irritated by some minor incorrect references to eg., So and so's Commander Officer, when it should have read Commanding Officer if referring to an Army situation. However, what it did show that the Labour Party has always been plagued by in fighting and disagreement from an early age. To have been Leader of the Labour Party for 20 years was a fantastic achievement whereas today you're lucky if you manage a few years in Office before selection of a new Leader. What was refreshing was that the Party in those days was not about "televisual" attraction, as the author puts it. Attlee was no pin up, whereas today a balding leader, no matter how good his rhetoric, fails the beauty contest aspect of our current politics. A fault I find in some former Labour and so called "socialist" leaders is that they are quick to embrace the establishment and receive honours which are, to my mind, incongruous with working class politics. TUC leaders (Len Murray for one) had been quick to do so; as Jones the TGWU leader in the 1970s was bold enough to refuse elevation to the House of Lords. That is the difference - class loyalty, but then again Attlee wasn't working class. I enjoyed the book and have learnt a lot including how we were driven to some degree by the Americans in shaping British post war politics. John Bew has filled a gap in my knowledge and understanding of British politics in the middle of he 20th Century.
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4.7 out of 5 stars