The Wild Men

The Remarkable Story of Britain's First Labour Government

The Wild Men cover

The Wild Men

The Remarkable Story of Britain's First Labour Government

Pre-order. Available 18 Jan 2024
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'Thoroughly researched…brings superbly to life figures whom history should not have forgotten.' - Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

'A highly readable, enjoyable and informative book.' - John McTernan, Financial Times

The incredible story of the first Labour government, and the 'wild men' who shook up the British establishment.

In 1923, four short years since the end of the First World War, and after the passing of the Act which gave all men the vote, an inconclusive election result and the prospect of a constitutional crisis opened the door for a radically different sort of government: men from working-class backgrounds who had never before occupied the corridors of power at Westminster. Who were these 'wild men'? Ramsay MacDonald, their leader and Labour's first Prime Minster, was the illegitimate son of a Scottish farm labourer; Arthur Henderson was a Scottish iron moulder; J. H. Thomas, a Welsh railwayman; John Wheatley, an Irish-born miner and publican; and William Adamson, a Fife coal miner. Never before had men from such backgrounds occupied the corridors of power in Westminster.

The Wild Men tells the story of that first Labour administration – its unexpected birth, fraught existence, and controversial downfall – through the eyes of those who found themselves in the House of Commons, running the country for the people. Blending biography and history into a compelling narrative, David Torrance reassesses the UK's first Labour government a century after it shook up a British establishment still reeling from the War – and how the establishment eventually fought back.

This is an extraordinary period in British political history which echoes down the years to our current politics and laid the foundations for the Britain of today.

Product details

Published 18 Jan 2024
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 336
ISBN 9781399411431
Imprint Bloomsbury Continuum
Illustrations 8 pages of black and white images
Dimensions 234 x 153 mm
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


David Torrance

David Torrance is a constitutional specialist at t…

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