Clement Attlee: The Man Who Made Modern Britain


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.6 X 9.4 X 2.2 inches | 2.35 pounds

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About the Author

John Bew is Professor of History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King's College London. Previously, he was a Lecturer in Modern British History at Cambridge. In 2013, he was named to the Kissinger Chair at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He is the author offive books, most recently Realpolitik: A History.


"I was not expecting to learn much new about the man ranked by our colleagues as the twentieth century's most successful prime minister (in a 2004 IPSOS-MORI poll of historians and political scientists). In this respect, I was, however, pleasantly surprised ... This is a compassionate biography that seeks to celebrate Attlee as a decent and humble man whose heart was in the right place and who was impressively adept at holding his party together after the electoral catastrophe of 1931 and in delivering on the promises of the 1945 election manifesto." -- Laura Beers, Journal of Modern History

"[A] superb biography..."--Ferdinand Mount, New York Review of Books

"Easily the best single-volume, cradle-to-grave life of Clement Attlee yet written. Professor Bew updates but also betters all the other biographies with this intelligent, well-researched and highly readable book. Scholarly and perceptive, it tells the story of how quiet determination and impeccable political timing wrought a peaceful revolution."--Andrew Roberts

"In this monumental biography, John Bew sets out to explore, not just the scale of the achievement, but to discover what made Attlee tick."--Chris Mullin, Guardian

"This biography makes a strong case for Attlee's greatness Such contradictions deserve a discerning biographer, and in John Bew, Attlee has the man he deserves. He has written with verve and confidence a first-rate life of a man whom he correctly argues has been under-appreciated...What a life and what a man."--Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

"Outstanding Bew's achievement is not only to bring this curious and introverted man to life, but to make him oddly loveable. He steps out like a character from the pages of the social novels of H. G. Wells or George Orwell."--Robert Harris, Sunday Times

"So how did a man who was the object of so much private derision by his peers come to preside over Labour's greatest (some might say only) radical government? Bew puts the question at the core of his story. He answers it convincingly by mixing arresting narrative with a thorough study of the people and policies of the Labour movement at a time of hardship interspersed by war and fierce ideological difference."--John Kampfner, Observer

"Magisterial. A great work of personal biography, social history, political philosophy, international relations and ferrets-in-a-sack Labour Party infighting As the Labour Party retreats towards ideological self-immolation, as Britain stumbles on the world stage, and as European social democracy stands in peril, we need another Attlee more than ever. In the absence of which, we have Bew's brilliant book."--Tristram Hunt, Prospect

"Bew delves into a richly complicated postwar British society and politics to show how this once-underestimated politician can lend valuable lessons to the new generation of Labour, crushed in the election defeat of 2015....The 'invisible man' gets his well-deserved due in this thorough new biography."--Kirkus Reviews

"Far and away the best biography of Attlee yet written."--Wall Street Journal

"A fascinating book."--Washington Free Beacon

"He writes with elegance and penetrating analytical force, skillfully rounding out Attlee both as a man and a quiet revolutionary."--The American Interest