Lord Callaghan's career in British politics is unique. Starting in humble circumstances, he entered parliament at a young age and went on to hold all the major political offices--Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and, for three tumultuous years from 1976 to 1979, Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Drawing on previously unused sources, this book covers every aspect of Callaghan's career and sets it against the background of recent British history. Kenneth O. Morgan, a leading authority on contemporary Britain, sheds new light on Callaghan's involvement in a wide range of issues, from the devaluation of the pound and the troubles in Northern Ireland, to Britain's entry into the European Community. Morgan also provides new information on Callaghan's relations with world leaders such as Ford, Kissinger, Carter, and Schmidt--and with the major figures in British politics and public life.
This is the first full biography of Callaghan to be published. Morgan employs much untapped primary material, as well as hitherto confidential interviews, to illuminate Callaghan's life, the history of the Labour Party, and many other aspects of British politics from the 1930s to the present.
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Kenneth O. Morgan was formerly Principal of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Honorary Fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford. He is the author of The People's Peace: British History, 1945-1990 and the editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain.
`There are few books where the match between biographer and subject comes off so well as here. This is an impressive book which will, without doubt, become the standard life for years ahead.'
Financial Times Weekend section, 4 October 1997
`massive new biography ... The depth and extent of the research is obvious. As befits one of the most distinguished historians of the Labour Party, Morgan is excellent on the political context of Callaghan's career.'
The Sunday Telegraph Review section, 21 September 1997
`There is certainly nothing sketchy about Kenneth O Morgan's new stately study of his career. It is voluminous almost in a Victorian sense ... Morgan has had access to all the 55 boxes of Callaghan's private papers and has trawled though them to impressive effect ... This is a biography that
gathers strength as it goes along, and the author not only writes better but argues more persuasively as he come to what he calls "the dying fall" of his subject's career in No. 10.'
The Sunday Times Book section, 14 September 1997
`The book succeeds ... This is a hugely valuable 'life and times' written with the considerable benefit of access to Callaghan's private archive'
The Observer Review section, 14 September 1997
`important new study ... a superb portrait and a fascinating work of historical scholarship that will become a classic text.'
The Guardian g2 section, 25 September 1997
`The challenge facing his official biographer is ... substantial. In 800 elegantly written pages Morgan meets this challenge and corrects an important imbalance in the literature on contemporary Britain. ... Morgan convincingly shows Callaghan as a substantial and interesting political figure.
... this is a classic political life, critical, well-balanced, compellingly written; a traditional life and times treatment of a central figure of the age.'
The Times, 25 September 1997
`It is very substantial and scholarly, and by no means uncritical in its assessments.'
Evening Standard (London), 15 September 1997
`There is careful, shrewd and analytical criticism running through many of the chapters as he examines Callaghan's role in all four of the major offices of state that has given Jim Callagham a unique political record.'
Tribune, 3 October 1997
`subtle and penetrating biography ... Morgan has given us a rich and satifying account of an underrated Prime Minister, His greatest achievement ... is to challenge the determinism implicit in both the Thatcherite and the New Labour interpretations of the history of the 1970s and 1980s; to
give due weight to contingency and to depict his hero as a fallible human being rather than as the puppet of an ineluctable fate.'
Times Literary Supplement
`subtle and persuasive ... has not only rescued the reputation of an under-rated prime minister and illuminated some of the most complex episodes in the recent history of the Labour Party.'
New Statesman and Society
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