‘Red Ellen’ Wilkinson

Her ideas, movements and world

By Matt Perry

‘Red Ellen’ Wilkinson


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9744-7
  • Pages: 424
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £24.99
  • Published Date: May 2015
  • BIC Category: History, General & world history, European history, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, Society & social sciences / Socialism & left-of-centre democratic ideologies, Humanities / British & Irish history


Unearthing new evidence to provide a richer understanding of her life, this study, now available in paperback, delves beyond the familiar image of Ellen Wilkinson on the Jarrow Crusade. From a humble background, she ascended to the rank of minister in the 1945 Labour government. Yet she was much more than a conventional Labour politician. She wrote journalism, political theory and novels. She was both a socialist and a feminist; at times, she described herself as a revolutionary. She experienced Soviet Russia, the Indian civil disobedience campaign, the Spanish Civil War and the Third Reich. This study deploys transnational and social movement theory perspectives to grapple with the complex itinerary of her ideas. Interest in Wilkinson remains strong among academic and non-academic audiences alike. This is in part because her principal concerns - working-class representation, the status of women, capitalist crisis, war, anti-fascism - remain central to contentious politics today.


The present renewal of scholarly interest in Ellen Wilkinson is both overdue and timely...'

'Wilkinson's links with Spain during the 1930s, her political philosophy, role in the feminist movement, her failing health and death are also explored in minute detail.


1. Socialist ideas and movements
2. Feminism and the Women's Movement
3. The Trade Union Movement
4. Against imperialism and war
5. The commons and the parliamentary Labour Party
6. A journey through the Crisis Years: the slump, travel and anti-Fascism
7. 'The hope of the world': Spain in revolution and war, 1933-39
8. In government, 1940-47


Matt Perry is Reader in Labour History at Newcastle University

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