Cover 9781849546836

Shortlisted for Political Biography of the Year at The Paddy Power Political Book Awards 2015

Elected in a surprise landslide in 1945, Clement Attlee was the first ever Labour leader to command a majority government. At the helm for twenty years, he remains the longest-serving leader in the history of the Labour Party. When his government was voted out in 1951, it left with Labour’s highest share of the vote before or since. And yet today he is routinely described as ‘the accidental Prime Minister’, dimly remembered as a politician who, by good fortune, happened to lead the Labour Party when Britain was disillusioned with Tory rule and ready for change.

Michael Jago argues that nothing could be further from the truth. Clement Attlee: The Inevitable Prime Minister, newly updated in this paperback edition, traces the life of a middle-class lawyer’s son who, appalled by the squalid living conditions in London’s East End, relentlessly pursued his ambition to create a more egalitarian society. Introducing the NHS and the cradle-to-grave Welfare State, in just six years his government changed the face of twentieth-century Britain for ever.


The evidence from this generally impressive book is that the Attlee governments were brimming with talent and policies.

History Today

Jago has produced a thoughtful and readable biography, and has made his own contribution to the Attlee canon with new research and insights...

Francis Beckett, New Statesman

Jago’s excellent biography … is a masterly piece of work and goes some way to redressing the balance.

Chris Hallam

Rich in detail, well written and engaging [...] a good analysis of the man, his beliefs  and his political progress.

BBC History Magazine

Michael Jago ... has discovered some new sources and has admirably reworked old ones to show that that whilst Attlee was lucky, he has experience, determination and grit.

Keith Simpson MP

A really good read.

George Eaton, Political Editor for the New Statesman

I can see myself telling researchers of the future, asking about Attlee, that Jago should be their first port of call... [B]y far the best account of his university years.

Dr Robin Darwall Smith, Fellow and Archivist of University College, Oxford
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  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781849547581
  • 20 May 2014
  • £9.99

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