Michael Foot: A Life

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9780007178261: Michael Foot: A Life

The authorised (but not uncritical) life of one of the great parliamentarians and orators of our times, the former Labour Party leader, now in his nineties, who is also an eminent man of letters.

Michael Foot has been a controversial and charismatic figure in British public life, political and literary, for over sixty years.

Emerging from a famous west-country Liberal dynasty, he rose as a crusading left-wing journalist in the late 1930s: ‘The Guilty Men’ (his book on the pre-war appeasers of Nazi Germany) is one of the great radical tracts of British history. He has been the voice of libertarian socialism in parliament, an international socialist and government minister, and was Labour leader for two-and-a-half years between 1980 and 1983.

His political friendships with people like Beaverbrook, Cripps, Aneurin Bevan and Barbara Castle were passionate and profound, but he also had a remarkable and quite different career as a man of letters, with Dean Swift, Tom Paine, Hazlitt, Byron, Wordsworth, Heine, Wells and Silone amongst his heroes. His two-volume life of Bevan is a triumph of political biography.

Kenneth Morgan’s biography does full justice to both the public and the private side of Michael Foot – no more tellingly than his descriptions of Foot’s long and happy marriage to the filmmaker, feminist and writer Jill Craigie.

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Review:

‘…The great achievement of Morgan’s fine biography is that it reminds us what a wonderfully humane, cultivated man Foot was – and indeed still is…the joy of Morgan’s early chapters is that they show just how deeply Foot drank from the wellsprings of England’s native radical traditions…he deserves to be remembered…as one of the most erudite, decent, public-spirited men of his time.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A fair record of Foot's trajectory from windbag rebel to conscientious cabinet minister.’ Sunday Times

‘Morgan’s judgements of Foot are elegantly balanced…Foot was, and still is, a great man who deservedly inspires affection as well as admiration.’ Observer

‘A thoroughly professional piece of history, beautifully written and with facts and arguments skillfully assembled…Morgan has done his best to find out what made Foot tick.’ Financial Times

‘When asked what luxury he would take with him to accompany his discs on a desert island one of his senior civil servants replied “Michael Foot”. It is the singular merit of this book that the author makes one see why.’ Spectator

‘A substantial work of history not shy to explore Foot’s human frailties…yet it is also affectionate, conveying the warmth of Foot’s generosity of spirit and his passions – for books, for people and for causes.’ Scotsman

‘Refreshingly candid…Morgan is at his strongest in describing the partnership between the last Labour Prime Minister and his loyal deputy.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Magnificent…Morgan has given us a book that is everything an authorised biography should be. It's compendious, meticulously researched with the collaboration of its subject, and contains every fact you are ever likely to want to know about him. But unlike many authorised biographies, it's clear, lucid and readable.’ The Guardian

‘Morgan is one of Britain's most distinguished modern historians, whose books combine scrupulous scholarship with limpid prose…Morgan has clearly been captivated by Foot and his portrait is warm, affectionate and moving.’ New Statesman

‘A great strength of this biography…is its exploration of the apparent tension between Foot the peace campaigner and Foot the righteous warrior.’ Independent on Sunday

Sunday Times:

'A fair record of Foot's trajectory from windbag rebel to
conscientious cabinet minister.'

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Morgan, Kenneth O.
Published by Harpercollins Pub Ltd (2007)
ISBN 10: 0007178263 ISBN 13: 9780007178261
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