NEURIN BEVAN by Michael Foot


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There are certainly as many kinds of biographies possible as there are people to write about and writers to write about them. And this volume is just as certainly an outstanding example of one of the very finest kinds: leisurely but never plodding; closely detailed but never cluttered; written with immense care and understanding by a man who knew his subject intimately for a quarter of a century; and perhaps most important of all, dealing with a man whose life is truly worth reading about. It may very well be what the London Sunday Times called it when it appeared last year in England: ""One of the great political biographies of this century."" Mr. Foot has quite properly concentrated upon Bevan's ""political values"" and ""major political battles"" and lays no claim to having portrayed ""the richness of his personality."" However, in the accounts of Bevan's early struggles in the Welsh coal fields, his ceaseless efforts on behalf of the unemployed and against Fascism during the 1930's, and his battles-royal in Parliament with Chamberlain, Churchill, and evin, much of that richness does come through. What also comes through, magnificently in many places, is the flavor of the times and all the excitement aroused by this man who was quite probably the most imaginative and courageous exponent of democratic Socialism that Britain has ever known. This volume carries us only as Far as Bevan's entry into the Labor Cabinet in 1945; the reader will put it down reluctantly, hoping that the second will not be long delayed in its appearance.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1963
Publisher: Atheneum