Anthony Crosland: A New Biography

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Richard Cohen, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 270 pages
Anthony Crosland was one of the most fascinating and important figures in British politics since the war. His socialism was shaped by his family background, his wartime service in the army and his career at Oxford, where he became a flamboyant, hard-drinking economics don. As a young Labour MP in 1956 he wrote The Future of Socialism, a book which established his reputation as the chief intellectual force behind revisionism on the left for a generation to come. Crosland was more than a writer of great force. His chances of a rapid rise in Labour politics were blighted when his friend and mentor Hugh Gaitskell died suddenly as party leader in 1963, but he held a succession of middle-ranking ministerial posts under Gaitskell's successor, Harold Wilson, and reached high office in 1976 when James Callaghan appointed him Foreign Secretary. It was widely assumed that Crosland would go on to become Chancellor and mount a serious bid for the party leadership. A career of great promise was cut short, however, when he died in 1977, aged only 58, prompting comparisons with other lost leaders such as Gaitskell and Iain Macleod.

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Highgate and Oxford 191840
Socialist Subaltern 194043
On Active Service 19435

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About the author (1999)

Kevin Jefferys is Lecturer in History at the University of Plymouth.

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