Aneurin Bevan: A Biography: Volume 1: 1897-1945 by Michael Foot

By Michael Foot

Publish 12 months note: First released in 1962

Michael Foot's two-volume biography of Aneurin 'Nye' Bevan (1897-1960) - arguably Britain's maximum socialist, indelibly linked to the founding of the nationwide overall healthiness carrier, - is likely one of the significant political biographies of the final century. it's the lifetime of an inspirational flesh presser, written by means of one that knew and unabashedly renowned him.

Volume I, first released in 1962, describes Bevan's lifestyles from his beginning in Tredegar within the South Wales Valleys, via his abortive education, his employment at a colliery and the following include of socialism that might make him a pace-setter between South Wales miners. It follows his route to the home of Commons as a Labour MP with a fast-rising acceptance as a defender of the operating classification; and his marriage in 1934 to fellow firebrand MP Jennie Lee. the amount closes with Labour's landslide election victory of 1945, and Bevan's appointment as Minister of Health.

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And this is the very point—dry language, tedious mathematics, a thumbed grammar form gradually an interior separate intellect, exact in its information, rigid in its requirements, disciplined in its exercises. The early natural fancy touching the far extremities of the universe, lightly playing with the scheme of all things, grows together with the precise, compacted memory slowly accumulating special facts, exact habits, clear and painful conceptions. At last the clouds sweep away; we find that these exercises which puzzled us, these languages which we hated, these details which we despised, are the instruments of true thought, are the very keys and openings, the exclusive access to the knowledge which we loved.

Indd 30 02/05/13 6:27 PM a l o n d o n e d u c at i o n influence on me, along with those I was bound to study: the Greek philosophers, Hume, Kant and John Stuart Mill. As Leibniz said, there are ‘secrets in the art of thinking as in all other arts’. My hope was to amass sufficient learning to feed the imagination and unlock the secret of originality. My readings were an apt preparation for a highlight of my student days, the regular breakfasts with Henry Crabb Robinson, one of the original founders of University College, who had known nearly every literary man worth knowing in England and Germany for fifty years.

Decorum is the essence, pomposity the advantage, of tutors. There is nothing to be said for a teacher who is not dry, and I look back with gratitude on the masters who drummed into me the rudiments of learning. Carlyle describes with bitter satire the fate of one of his heroes who was obliged to acquire whole systems of information in which he, the hero, saw no use. And this is the very point—dry language, tedious mathematics, a thumbed grammar form gradually an interior separate intellect, exact in its information, rigid in its requirements, disciplined in its exercises.

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