Hugh Dalton was one of the most effective and strangest of modern political leaders. Born the son of a tutor to royal princes, Dalton was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he was taught by Maynard Keynes, fell under the spell of Rupert Brooke, and learned about socialism from Keir Hardie and Beatrice Webb. He entered Parliament in 1924, and for three decades his impact on government policy and on the leadership, organization and philosophy of the Labour party was immense. In this biography, Pimlott makes use of official records, interviews, private papers and the hitherto unpublished Dalton diaries.
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Friend of Rupert Brooke, pupil of Maynard Keynes, patron of politicians like Hugh Gaitskell and Jim Callaghan – thinker, crusader, patriot, 'bon viveur' bully, plotter – Hugh Dalton was one of the giants of the 1940s, a shaper of modern Britain and a precursor of New Labour.
Ben Pimlott's famous study examines his extraordinary life with forensic historical scholarship – and the excitement of a whodunnit.
"This is a masterly biography… I do not think I shall ever read a more satisfyingly definitive biography, in which familiar events are recalled with accuracy, pace and style while a searchlight is shone into hitherto dark places. Mr Pimlott certainly does not avoid the dark places of Dalton's life, and he writes about them with an unsqueamish precision which occasionally takes one's breath away. I find Mr Pimlott's book not only the last word on Dalton but also a rather frightening commentary on the human condition."
ROY JENKINS, 'Observer'
"Ben Pimlott's 'Hugh Dalton' passes the ultimate test: those not at all interested in Dalton can still be enthralled by his story, so firm is the author's grip, so keen is his insight, so fascinating is the tale he has to tell."
BERNARD LEVIN, 'The Times'
"Brilliant… not only has Ben Pimlott written the best and most readable biography of recent years, with the pace of a thriller and the atmosphere of a psychodrama, he has done much to demythologise the history of the Labour Party."
RICHARD GOTT, 'Guardian'
"Brilliant and evocative… an important contribution to historical literature and to the understanding of British left-wing politics. Pimlott's rare fusion of scholarly detachment and political involvement makes this biography all the more valuable as a commentary on the ideas, institutions, values and shortcomings of the British left."
KENNETH O. MORGAN, 'Times Literary Supplement'
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Book Description HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS LTD, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 000638417X