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Published in: Society 4/2022

27-06-2022 | BOOK REVIEW

John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee

Riverrun. 2016, 668 pp., ISBN: 978-1780879925

Author: Pat Thane

Published in: Society | Issue 4/2022

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Excerpt

The theme of this book is that Clement Attlee ‘has been not so much underestimated as underappreciated’ (pp. 20, 552). Bew certainly deepens one’s appreciation of Attlee as a politician and as a human being with a very detailed account of a life little known today or in his own day, not least because, as Bew puts it, “It is hard to think of another politician who reached such prominence and gave so little away. He could be opaque, verging on obtuse” (p. xvi). Unlike many politicians, he didn’t see himself as a political hero and there was no cult around him. Rather, he faced persistent criticism, especially on the left of the Labour Party. Yet he led the government which did more to improve most peoples’ lives than any other in twentieth century Britain. Seeking to understand his life, beliefs and values was not helped by the fact that, as someone unobsessed with his place in history, he left few personal documents. Bew makes careful use of those he found. …
Metadata
Title
John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee
Riverrun. 2016, 668 pp., ISBN: 978-1780879925
Author
Pat Thane
Publication date
27-06-2022
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Society / Issue 4/2022
Print ISSN: 0147-2011
Electronic ISSN: 1936-4725
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-022-00733-9

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