Books in 100: British Labour Leaders

In its 122-year history, Labour has had numerous leaders, but only six have become Prime Minister.

In an analysis of Labour leaders from Keir Hardie to Ed Miliband (edited by Charles Clarke and Toby James), a solid framework of assessment is applied as varying authors provide their take on all Labour leaders during times of success and failure.

Predictably, John Rentoul writes a gushing chapter on Tony Blair, while Mark Stuart pens an interesting chapter on John Smith. Others offer impressive reappraisals of maligned personalities (John Shepherd’s George Lansbury chapter for instance). However, chapters are slightly tarnished by unnecessary introductions full of exposition and spoilers.

Overall, a hugely enjoyable book in much need of an update.

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