Then and Now
This warm, affectionate, scintillatingly funny account reveals the childhood of a radical politician who has become a well-loved national figure, and shows how early influences have shaped the commitments and beliefs he holds today.
Born into a family with a strong, radical dissenting tradition in which enterprise and public service were combined, Tony Benn was taught to believe that the greatest sins in life was to waste time and money. Life in his Victorian–Edwardian family home in Westminster was characterised by austerity, the last vestiges of domestic service, the profound influence of his mother, a dedicated Christian and feminist, and his colourful and courageous father, elected as a Liberal MP in 1906 and later serving in Labour Cabinets under Ramsay MacDonald and Clem Atlee. DARE TO BE A DANIEL feelingly recalls Tony Benn’s years as one of three brothers experiencing life in the nursery, the agonies of adolescence and of school, where boys were taught to ‘keep their minds clean’, and the shadow of fascism and war with its disruption and family loss; and describes his emergence from the war as a keen socialist about to embark upon marriage and an unknown political future. The book ends with some of Tony Benn’s reflections on many of the most important and controversial issues of our time.
“'There is a passion in Benn's writing and speaking that far transcends the miserable aspirations of most contemporary politicians'”
Paul Foot, Guardian