The Orwell Prize 2017 Winner: Citizen Clem by John Bew


Arthur C. Clarke Winner 2017 - Book Feature

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Described by Andrew Roberts as ‘easily the best single-volume, cradle-to-grave life of Clement Attlee yet written,’ Bew’s survey of Labour’s great post-war hero addresses head-on the paradox of how a largely quiet and reserved man led a party at its most radical, setting in place a legacy of social change that has endured for over six decades.

Citizen Clem takes the reader from Attlee’s inauspicious beginnings and through his rise in the ranks, propelled by Ramsay MacDonald to assume the cabinet seat abandoned by Oswald Mosley. The war years brought a coalition government with Churchill; by their end he was Prime Minister, presiding over issues that ran from the end of Empire to the rise of the Soviet nuclear threat.

 

"The timing of The Orwell Prize winner could not be more apt. The political battle in the UK since 1948 has always boiled down to one simple fact: the upholding or the whittling away of what Clem Atlee built… Citizen Clem will go a long way towards re-balancing the Churchillian narrative that currently dominates us."

BONNIE GREER - JUDGE, AUTHOR AND PLAYWRIGHT

 

Since 1994, The Orwell Prize has underlined and championed, in Orwell’s words, ‘to make political writing into an art.’ Citizen Clem – a book judged by Chris Mullen in the Guardian as ‘monumental ‘- fully and quite brilliantly achieves this ambition.

The 2017 Shortlist

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Described by Colm Tóibín as ‘a superb introduction to this period of momentous change in Irish history’, Ruth Dudley Edwards unpicking of the seven leaders of Ireland’s 1916 Rising brings a lifetime of research and understanding to the table, providing a unflinching portrait of each and expertly disseminating their legacy.
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Really heavyweight, prestige political biographies almost seem a dying art, but John Bew’s benchmark account of the life and exploits of Clement Attlee is a magnificent, involving accomplishment, deftly exploring how a seemingly unremarkable, even ordinary, man managed to command a revolution in British politics. ‘Exemplary’ – The Guardian
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‘Shipman convincingly marshals much fresh evidence to prove what we already half-knew.’ Thus Will Hutton in the Guardian sums up Tim Shipman’s superb account of what took us to the precipice – and beyond – of the referendum, a very human tale of interests, both national and party, that we not always in harmony. Exhaustive and panoptic, this is perhaps the essential volume toward Brexit.
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One man and his bike: J.D. Taylor’s panoptic scoot around the United Kingdom is something of a insightful, rueful gazetteer of our state of play. ‘Island Story is informed by the spirit of Cobbett's 1830 ‘Rural Rides’, that great work of social criticism… but he knows too that he is travelling around a country that might soon cease to exist.'  - The Financial Times
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From the catastrophic wreckage of 1989’s Hillsborough disaster, a new football was born. Tempany’s And the Sun Shines Now charts that change, from a time of club and fan intimacy to the game of today, where the fan is a mere component in a much vaster, and far more remote, machine. ‘An impassioned polemic about the relationship between football, society and the state by a journalist who is also a Hillsborough survivor.’ – The Mail on Sunday
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The Guardian editor-at-large Younge addresses the chronic state of gun crime in North America by unpacking a single day of tragedy: ten dead children and teens, and not one death deemed worthy to be covered by news networks. ‘This might not be a book to make you eagerly turn pages, only because you might need to put it down to catch your breath and marshal your feelings, as one heartrending story follows another.’ – The Sunday Times

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The 2017 Longlist

Another Day in the Death of America
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The Seven
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The Return
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The Power
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£8.99   £6.99
Paperback
The Marches
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£9.99
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The Life Project
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£9.99
Paperback
Our Island Story
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£12.99
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Enough Said
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Easternisation
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Citizen Clem
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£14.99
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Black and British
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£12.99
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And the Sun Shines Now
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All Out War
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Previous Winners

Poverty Safari
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Citizen Clem
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The Invention of Russia
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Private Island
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This Boy
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A Very British Killing
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Dead Men Risen
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The Rule of Law
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Keeper
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Fishing in Utopia
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Palestinian Walks
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Having it So Good
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Moses, Citizen and Me
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Anthony Blunt
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Mukiwa
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Season of Blood
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The Baltic Revolution
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