The main problem with this book is that the authors' views are radically further to the right than those of Bevan. The result is that there are plenty of distortions of his views. In his book In Place of Fear, Bevan writes: ' I remember vividly Robert Smillie describing to me an interview the leaders of the Triple Alliance had with David Lloyd George in 1919... " Gentleman", he said "you have fashioned in the Triple Alliance of the unions represented by you the most powerful instrument. I feel bound to tell you that in our opinion we are at your mercy. the army is disaffected and cannot be relied upon... in these circumstances if you carry out your threat and strike then you will defeat us. But if you do so," went on Mr Lloyd George, "have you weighed the consequences? the strike will be in Defiance of the government of a country and by its very success precipitate a constitutional crisis of the first importance. For if a force arises in the state which is stronger than the state itself then it must be ready to take on the functions of the state or withdraw and accept the authority of the State"... "From that moment on," said Robert Smillie, "we were beaten and we knew we were."' Bevan comments: 'they had never worked out the revolutionary implications of Direct action on such a scale.' Hence the failure of the 1926 General strike, sold out by the leadership of the trade union movement, which did not want to unseat the reactionary government which was literally starving the workers back to work, and consequently caved in to it. But the Becketts (the authors) simply deny this vital and explosive insight that Bevan describes, claiming that the government was always in control. On the contrary the strike was getting more powerful by the day. Lloyd George was right. It is truly a travesty.
If you just want to know the bare bones of Bevan's life, this is fine. But it lacks depth and also gives the impression of being dashed off rather quickly without much thought given to style and insight. Being 77 myself, I was around when a lot of the events mentioned happened, and the account given here seems to differ somewhat in the background details.
A readable canter through this enigmatic politician's career with brief insights too on others who were significant at the time. Bevan is one of the few politicians who actually achieved something lasting and worthwhile and we owe him a lot. He walked the talk and he could certainly talk with wit and passion. If there is a criticism of the book it is that it lacks some examples of his humour and particularly his famous one-liners in response to hecklers.
a good easy to read book on the life of NYE BEVAN, from his early years in TREDEGAR. it charts his life as a miner, union representative, councillor,to MP for EBBW VALE. then his life as politician to the part he played in founding the NHS. a recommended read for anyone with an interest in NYE.