Leading the Left

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Leading the Left

By Peter Shore
Weidenfeld & Nicolson/North Pomfret: Trafalgar Square, 1994
218 pp. $39.95
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A Labour M.P. and sometime minister writes short and rather benign sketches of Labour's leaders, from the Christian pacifist George Lansbury to the present and not widely known John Smith. Shore is good on the diverse groups within the party and emphasizes why a party of the Left particularly needs an ideology or at least a precise social vision. Not surprisingly, he gives the highest marks to Attlee, but he is partial to Hugh Gaitskell as well, the self-conscious upper-class leader who to the dismay of many sounded a hostile note about Europe. Shore is better on the party than on the biographies of its remarkable leaders.

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