Francis Beckett and Clare Beckett

A revised and extended edition which includes a new introduction and a new chapter on Bevan’s legacy today


Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan was the man who created the National Health Service, the crowning achievement of the post-war Labour government. The son of a miner from Monmouthshire, Wales, he became a local miners’ trade union leader at nineteen and was elected a Labour MP in 1929. He was one of few who dared criticise Churchill’s leadership during the Second World War and demanded that the government commit to a more equal society.

When Labour came to power in 1945, as minister responsible for health and housing Bevan contributed more than anyone to building a fairer Britain. He resigned from the cabinet in 1951 after two months in office in protest against the proposed introduction of prescription charges for dental and vision care, but continued to be an influential voice on the Labour Party left, inspiring  a group known as the Bevanites.

This biography traces Bevan’s life and legacy; a skilled orator and champion for the welfare state whose influence on modern Britain cannot be overstated.

FRANCIS BECKETT is an author, journalist, playwright, and contemporary historian. His eighteen books included biographies of four prime ministers, the first of which is about his own political hero, Clement Attlee. He is the author of Macmillan and Olivier.

Follow Francis on Twitter @francisbeckett

CLARE BECKETT lectures in public policy at the University of Bradford, where she is the director of postgraduate gender study in the Department of Social Science and Humanities. She is the author of Thatcher in The 20 Prime Ministers of the 20th Century series.

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