Clement Attlee has been described as an 'accidental Prime Minister'. A retiring man, overshadowed by the flamboyant Churchill during the Second World War, he is dimly remembered as a politician who, by good fortune, happened to lead the Labour Party at a time when Britain was disillusioned with Tory rule and ready for change. In fact, in just six years Attlee's Government introduced the most significant features of post-war Britain: the National Health Service, extensive nationalisation of essential industry and the Welfare State that Britons now take for granted. In foreign policy his government can take credit for the withdrawal from India, transition from Empire to Commonwealth and the creation of the Anglo-American alliance, central to British policy for over sixty years. In The Inevitable Prime Minister Michael Jago argues that none of this was accidental, that Attlee, a fierce patriot, embraced socialism in his twenties and, by the time he stood for Parliament soon after the First World War, nourished an ambition to achieve power and create a more egalitarian society. Once he assumed the Labour Party leadership in 1935 he was single-minded in pursuing his goals. Despite his unwavering support for Winston Churchill as war leader from 1940 to 1945, he succeeded in demonstrating to the electorate that Labour was better equipped to handle post-war reconstruction in Britain. Drawing largely from Attlee's writings, speeches and letters, The Inevitable Prime Minister traces the life of a middle-class lawyer's son who, appalled by living conditions in London's East End, relentlessly pursued his ambition to lead a government that would implement far-reaching socialist reform and change forever the divisive class structure of twentieth-century Britain.
Product code: AJGZV
Dimensions: 15.6cm x 23.9cm
Publish date: 15/03/2014
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