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Tony and Caroline

Ben Pimlott, 26 November 1987

Out of the Wilderness: Diaries 1963-67 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 592 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 09 170660 2
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... Give me chastity and continence, prayed the youthful Augustine, but do not give it yet. Perhaps the young Tony Benn, slithering up the greasy poll, made similar entreaties. For this, his fascinating first volume of diaries, is the story of an attractive, vital, boundlessly energetic young man having the egocentric time of his life without a thought for the morrow, except to move onwards and upwards ...

Über-Tony

Ben Pimlott: Anthony Crosland, 3 September 1998

Crosland’s Future: Opportunity and Outcome 
by David Reisman.
Macmillan, 237 pp., £47.50, October 1997, 0 333 65963 5
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... Why is Tony Crosland one of the few Old Labour heroes that nobody mocks? Keir Hardie, G.D.H. Cole, Stafford Cripps, Gaitskell, even Nye Bevan, have become the subject of New Labour locker-room ribaldry. Yet to describe yourself as a ‘Crosland socialist’ still carries meaning. Maybe it is because of that sardonic smile, and an uneasy feeling that, if he were alive today, he would be doing the mocking ...
The Alternative: Politics for a Change 
edited by Ben Pimlott, Anthony Wright and Tony Flower.
W.H. Allen, 260 pp., £14.95, July 1990, 9781852271688
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... to be a right-wing ideological hegemony. The contributors to Samizdat, whose founding editor, Ben Pimlott, is one of the editors of this book, were adherents of the Labour Party, the old Alliance, the Communist Party and of no party at all. Many of the contributors still are these things, though some, like Michael Young, have returned to the Labour ...

Hello, Fred

David Marquand, 21 March 1985

Hugh Dalton 
by Ben Pimlott.
Cape, 731 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 224 02100 1
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... for 30 and a member of the Labour Party National Executive for 25. In the Thirties, as Ben Pimlott shows in this absorbing, perceptive and sometimes moving biography, he played a central part (after Bevin, the central part) in dragging the Labour Party out of the semi-pacifist isolationism of the Twenties into a grudging acceptance of ...

Sixtysomethings

Paul Addison, 11 May 1995

True Blues: The Politics of Conservative Party Membership 
by Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd and Jeremy Richardson.
Oxford, 303 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 19 827786 5
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Frustrate Their Knavish Tricks: Writings on Biography, History and Politics 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 417 pp., £20, August 1994, 9780002554954
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... scope for compromise between them. Prominent among the sceptics is the historian and biographer Ben Pimlott, whose Frustrate Their Knavish Tricks is a selection from his prolific writings as an essayist and reviewer. It is not unusual in Britain for a historian to win fame and fortune as a biographer: Pimlott’s ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison, 17 April 1986

Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... the shell. That we are now in possession of the real Dr Dalton is due entirely to the labours of Ben Pimlott, whose superlative biography was published last year. Dalton was a compulsive diarist who started a journal in 1916 and carried on until 1960. Dr Pimlott has been editing it in two volumes, the first of which ...

Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments, 31 October 2002

Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... Council was formed. ‘While the LCC area had some continuing claim to reality as “London”,’ Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao write, ‘the Greater London area would be a constellation of competing communities. However, there was no longer a premium on the kind of identity of interest or community that was arguably a characteristic of the doomed ...

Diary

Christopher Harvie: Cars and Cuckoo Clocks, 26 January 1995

... about the income which sustained the first seven years of her administration, but the fact that Ben Pimlott, Philip Ziegler and Austen Morgan, three heavyweight biographers of Harold Wilson, under whose premiership the petroleum exploitation and taxation regime was set up, fail to mention it. In Scotland, up until the Eighties, we had contrived an ...

A prince, too, can do his bit

K.D. Reynolds: King Edward VII and George VI, 27 April 2000

Power and Place: The Political Consequences of King Edward VII 
by Simon Heffer.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £20, August 1998, 9780297842200
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A Spirit Undaunted: The Political Role of George VI 
by Robert Rhodes James.
Little, Brown, 368 pp., £22.50, November 1998, 0 316 64765 9
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... confidence in him and the peculiar demands of a nation at war, George VI was not what Ben Pimlott has called a ‘cypher-monarch’. Rhodes James’s brief as an apologist is fairly evident. There’s never any doubt that the Duke of Windsor was unfit for the position he abdicated; and no criticism of George VI, however trivial, goes ...

So much was expected

R.W. Johnson, 3 December 1992

Harold Wilson 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 811 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 00 215189 8
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Harold Wilson 
by Austen Morgan.
Pluto, 625 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 7453 0635 7
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... came to prefer her second name, Mary) was somewhat bemused, particularly since Harold, already, in Pimlott’s words, ‘cheerful, boastful, absurdly sure of himself and confidently planning the future’, went on to tell Gladys that he intended to become an MP and, ultimately, prime minister. For these were things he had more or less been promising himself ...

A future which works

Michael Ignatieff, 30 December 1982

Trade Unions in British Politics 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Longman, 302 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 582 49184 3
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Trade Unions: The Logic of Collective Action 
by Colin Crouch.
Fontana, 251 pp., £2.50, August 1982, 9780006358732
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Work and Politics: The Division of Labour in Industry 
by Charles Sabel.
Cambridge, 304 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 521 23002 0
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Strikes and the Government, 1893-1981 
by Eric Wigham.
Macmillan, 248 pp., £20, February 1982, 0 333 32302 5
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Governments and Trade Unions: The British Experience, 1964-1979 
by Dennis Barnes.
Heinemann Educational, 242 pp., £6.50, February 1982, 0 435 83046 5
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The Assembly Line 
by Robert Linhart, translated by Margaret Crosland.
Calder, 160 pp., £3.95, September 1981, 9780714537429
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... consciousness all along. Three of the works under review – Barry Hindess’s essay in the Pimlott and Cook volume, and the books by Sabel and Crouch – are valuable simply for their critique of the ways in which both Marxist and mainstream sociologies of work condescend to workers’ capacity to know and defend their own interests. Crouch sets out to ...

Greatness

Arthur Marwick, 21 October 1982

Attlee 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 630 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 297 77993 1
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... Parliamentary Socialism that the Labour Party never really had been socialist; much more recently, Ben Pimlott, in Labour and the Left in the 1930s, has argued that attacks on Labour for abandoning its socialism are misplaced, since the original and basic purpose of the Party was simply to get working men into Parliament. In essence, ...

Maximum Embarrassment

David Marquand, 7 May 1987

Nye Bevan and the Mirage of British Socialism 
by John Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £15.95, March 1987, 0 297 78998 8
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The Political Diary of Hugh Dalton: 1918-40, 1945-60 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape, 752 pp., £40, January 1987, 0 224 01912 0
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... was still an unknown backbencher and Gaitskell a university lecturer. As the latest instalment of Ben Pimlott’s magisterial edition of Hugh Dalton’s diaries reminds us, the current leadership’s dismay at the vagaries of the ‘loony Left’ has plenty of precedents from earlier days. To take an example almost at random, here is Dalton on a meeting ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... chair, would write a far more interesting profile than the average political editor. Ben Pimlott, in his brilliant biography of Hugh Dalton, caught the character of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer with great assurance. And, more recently, Robert Rhodes James discovered the roots of Anthony Eden’s vulnerability better than any ...

Sterling and Strings

Peter Davies: Harold Wilson and Vietnam, 20 November 2008

... by the prime minister, his reaction could be very violent indeed.’ As Clive Ponting and Ben Pimlott have demonstrated, Britain’s defence policy east of Suez and its economic policies were both adjusted as a result of US financial pressure; yet Dean reckoned that support for the US in Vietnam was more important to the president. In June ...

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