n Historia - Leaders who made history under difficult circumstances
Enlightened Rule: Portraits of Six Exceptional Twentieth Century Premiers, Paul Maylam : book review

Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The purpose of this book, according to the author, is to give recognition to six twentieth-century exceptional, transformative and progressive heads of government. They were gifted leaders in their respective states and in some cases, on the world stage. Moreover, in the majority of instances, these "premiers" assumed office under precarious political contexts. What Maylam presents in this book are six politicians "who can be greatly admired" (p vii). With his progressivist orientation, it is clear that conservative "premiers" such as Churchill, Thatcher and De Gaulle; and liberals like Lloyd George or Woodrow Wilson would not be considered. F.D. Roosevelt, J.F. Kennedy and Pierre Trudeau are not included, nor the great Labourite and state interventionist, Clem Attlee. But, the author confesses on p 23, the decision to include some and exclude others was ultimately an arbitrary one, and highly personal, I would guess. Be that as it may.

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