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on 9 May 2011
OUT OF THE WILDERNESS (Diaries 1963 - 67) - Tony Benn MP
The author had been MP since 1950 when he made the debut of his political career as a backbencher; as time past he was to become one of the most brilliant politicians of the 20th century. His diaries which is a day-to-day event in the life of the author contain elaborate and detailed record of his family, personal and political life, during 1963 to 1967. The book is a product of combined effort of his wife Caroline, his two sons: Steve and Joshua ; and other associates. These accounts were recorded in chapters 1 and 2 and had the unique privilege of being a diary published during the active life of the author.
The title is drawn from the fact that Labor had been in opposition and returned to parliament in 1963. A phenomenon he called `White Heath'.
From an appointment of Post-Master General he became Minister of Technology after a landslide election that brought Labor to power. He held other top cabinet positions thereafter. These were contained in chapters 3 and 4.
It was the experiences garnered during these appointments which he called "a socialist-in-the-making as well as the record of an active politician". The summary of his experiences were in four major areas; which gives readers of different persuasions perspectives of British politics.
1 Preservation of policies by civil servants against ministerial incursions into state power entrenched in the constitution; his experience in fighting to denounce peerage and how conservative the establishment stood against it. Troubles in negotiating stamp design.
2 Party administration of Labor party by its leaders as if it were personal estate.
3 How industrialists and bankers used economic pressure and blackmail against Labor government.
4 Power of the media: "the power of the media, like the power of medieval church ensures that events of the day are always presented from the point of view of those who enjoy economic privilege.
It is a revealing book about the author's concern about the gradual decline of British capitalism at the expense of workers, especially after the OPEC oil price increases in 1973. With cartoons, appendices and numerous beautiful pictures the book is very valuable contribution to British political history.
Out Of The Wilderness: Diaries 1963-67
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on 9 October 2014
The book is as you would expect, a historical document of the 1960`s from the political experiences of a senior Labour politician. However Tony Benn`s ability to reflect carefully and thoughtfully does give an interesting view of events and people of the time. What also comes through is Benn`s innocence and belief in socialism, when faced with more jaundiced views within, as well as outside, the Labour Party!
Plan to read all the later ones too.
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on 1 March 2015
amusing account of his time as postmaster general. he wanted to take the queen's head off postage stamps. she seemed to agree and then changed her mind. benn's wife read a book on jackanory.
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on 5 February 2015
Good read
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