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This year marks the centenary of Harold Wilson’s birth, the fiftieth anniversary of his most impressive general election victory and forty years since his dramatic resignation as Prime Minister. He was one of the longest-serving premiers of the twentieth century, having won a staggering four general elections, yet, despite this monumental record, his place in Labour’s history remains somewhat ambiguous.
By the end of his two periods in power, both the left and right of the party were highly critical of Wilson – the former regarding him as a traitor to socialism, the latter as contributing directly to British decline.
With contributions from leading experts in the fields of political study, and from Wilson’s own contemporaries, this remarkable new study offers a timely and wide-ranging reappraisal of one of the giants of twentieth-century politics, examining the context within which he operated, his approach to leadership and responses to changing social and economic norms, the successes and failure of his policies, and how he was viewed by peers from across the political spectrum. Finally, it examines the overall impact of Harold Wilson on the development of British politics.