The Tortoise and the Hares


Radice, Giles

27/10/2008 | Hardback |

ISBN: 9781842752234

About The Tortoise and the Hares

A unique comparative biography of five key twentieth century politicians, covering their early lives as well as their time in office together.

More than sixty years after the 1945 landslide Labour victory, Clement Attlee remains the benchmark – the top deity in the modern Labour Party's pantheon. The distinguished author Giles Radice not only tells his important story, but also explains the complex, crucial and unique relationship between Attlee, the 'Tortoise', and the 'Hares', his leading Cabinet ministers – Ernest Bevin, Stafford Cripps, Hugh Dalton and Herbert Morrison.

Despite being one of the least charismatic Prime Ministers of recent times, Attlee's premiership was one of great achievement, thanks to the Hares who served under the Tortoise. His government introduced the welfare state and the National Health Service, nationalised the major utilities, gave independence to India, Pakistan and Ceylon and helped to found NATO. Attlee and the Labour government needed the ideas, inspiration and drive that his more dynamic ministers provided; he needed his colleagues as much as they needed him.

Giles Radice draws on the National Archive documents, diaries, interviews and secondary sources to provide a book of wide appeal, sharp, colourful and well written. It is for anyone who wishes to know more about this crucial period of modern history, whose influence lives on.


Giles Radice


Giles Radice is a distinguished author and politician, who draws on the success of his highly acclaimed triple biography of Crosland, Jenkins and Healey, Friends and Rivals, described by Steve Richards in the Independent on Sunday as 'the best political book of the year...a delight'. He has also published Diaries, 1980–2001: From Political Disaster to Election Triumph. He was an MP from 1973–2001, and is now in the House of Lords, where he continues to contribute politically.



'Radice's fascinating study of Attlee and the gifted lieutenants who surrounded him in Cabinet – Ernest Bevin, Stafford Cripps, Hugh Dalton and Herbert Morrison – is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the innate caution and 'small c' conservatism that at times bedevilled Labour as a party of government.'




'Giles Radice tells this tale with relish and insight, giving lively pen portraits of Attlee and the hares.'

The Mail on Sunday



'Giles Radice effuses colour into a sepia age. Radice's great strength as a political writer is his ability to weave the insights he draws from his own not insignificant parliamentary career into his narrative, and to draw out the importance of the interplay of personalities in politics.'




'Giles Radice's book is of interest both to those who remember and those who still need to learn about [the post war Labour government of 1945]'

Morning Star

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