Email this review


If the Labour Party wins the next General Election, Harold Wilson, who was an Oxford don at 21, a Cabinet member ten years later, and Leader of the Opposition at 46, will become England's youngest 20th century Prime Minister. Practically unheard of abroad until elected Leader of his party following the death of Hugh Gaitskell last year, Wilson is without doubt a brilliant, skillful, and altogether reliable politician, as this collection of his speeches and articles from the past seven years quite clearly demonstrates. They are divided according to topic into six categories, covering the future of the party, economic policy, taxation and monetary matters, the Common Market debate, foreign policy and defense, and the question of what, any how, is British Socialism? It is this final section which probably will hold most interest for American readers, since the answer is not, we are told, what we generally think of here when we hear the term: it is not Marxian, or in any way dogmatic; it is ""about people"" not as a mass but rather as individuals, as ""neighbors."" Above all, in what seems to be Mr. Wilson's favorite epithet, British Socialism is ""purposive,"" and it means the application of a sense of ""economic purpose, social purpose, moral purpose."" As an introduction to a man whose name may soon adorn our headlines this is a useful volume, but Americans may find the politics behind many of the pieces too briefly dealt with in the summary introductions to the various sections. And the man himself, as private personality, is elusive.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1964
Publisher: oughton Mifflin