J W M Thompson

Reticence & Rectitude

Attlee’s Great Contemporaries: The Politics of Character


Continuum Books 180pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Brilliant, if presumably accidental, timing has caused this book to appear when our political life has been passing through a period of shameful disorder. The name of Clement Attlee is not much mentioned nowadays. He was Churchill’s Deputy Prime Minister during the Second World War and Prime Minister in the years of Labour government that followed. What gives this collection of his writings an unlikely topicality is the fact that, however fierce the controversies which his politics led him into, he was universally regarded as a model of probity. Any notion that Attlee was ‘on the make’, or slyly enriching himself at taxpayers’ expense, would have been absurd. His standards of public service were high. If a colleague fell short of his expectations he was got rid of without delay. It follows that Attlee’s reflections on political life, and his assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the politicians with whom he worked, have gained a certain resonance today.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The 25th Bad Sex in Fiction is happening in a week. There’s a press release if you’re the sort of person who wants a press release ,
    • sorry I can’t spell fluttering. I was agitated.,
    • Probably try and get an announcement out later, for all these male writers who think of fluttering inner muscle sheaths...,
    • He felt the muscles far inside her flutteriung around him,
    • Next week sees return, and we've got discounted tickets on offer, right here: ,
    • We're rarely topical - tricky as a monthly magazine - but we've an article this month all about Laurence Binyon, po… ,
    • "We will remember them" - who wrote those words, and why have them become our terms of memorial? ,