Statesman, pre-eminent leader and founder of the free world’s then largest and most formidable trade union, Ernest Bevin was one of the greatest and most inspirational figures of the twentieth century. Minister of Labour in the wartime coalition during the Second World War, he was at Churchill’s right hand, masterminding the home front while the war supremo commanded the battle front. Following the war, he was Foreign Secretary at one of the most pivotal moments of international history, responsible for keeping Stalin and communism out of Western Europe, and for creating West Germany, NATO and the transatlantic alliance, all of which underpin European democracy and security to this day.
Born into abject poverty, an orphan farm boy from Bristol with virtually no formal education, Bevin’s remarkable rise to fame and power is unmatched by any leader to this day. In this insightful and wide-ranging new biography, Andrew Adonis examines how ‘the working-class John Bull’ grew to a position of such authority, and offers a critical reassessment of Bevin’s life and influence. Skilfully bringing to life this extraordinary figure, Adonis explores Bevin’s powerful legacy and lessons for our own age, restoring this charismatic statesman to his rightful place among the pantheon of Britain’s greatest political leaders.