Francis Beckett

What did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?

What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us, 2010 (Biteback), republished 2016 (Routledge).

The baby boomers inherited peace, welfare and all the good things of the Attlee settlement. And what did they do with them? They trashed them.

"Returns Sixties mythology to history. The mirror Beckett holds up to the recent past is smeared with the suffering of young people today. There are several moments of dizzying cultural and historical vertigo." Laurie Penny, New Statesman.

"Grey-haired hippies will read this book and shudder; the rest of us, though, will read it for the splendid stories and shafts of insight." Dominic Sandbrook, BBC History Magazine.

An entertaining read. I particularly enjoyed being reminded of Peter Hitchens's transition from International Socialist to rightwing commentator.” Fiona Millar, Guardian.

An infuriating book.” John Clossick, Socialist Review.

Clem Attlee

Clem Attlee 2015 (Haus Publishing.)

Beckett gets near to the essence of Attlee, and does so in an easy, flowing narrative.” Independent

More government records have been opened, and Beckett has used them to great effect.” Roy Hattersley, The Times.

An engrossing personal biography of Attlee.” History Today

The triumph of this work is the author’s success in passing on his love for his subject. By the final chapter…I too liked Attlee, whom I had previously barely known.” Sion Simon, The Spectator.

Anyone interested in British history will enjoy Beckett’s book … a slow read in the best possible way.” Huffington Post

A formidable work of scholarship…draws out the many facets, including the real subtlety, of his character.” Rt Hon John Bercow MP

In this welcome updated biography, with the benefit of new material, Francis Beckett illuminates Attlee’s tumultuous times, analyses his transformative deeds, and – crucially – reveals the innermost man who is recognised by historians to be Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister.”  Neil Kinnock

By illuminating how he accomplished his gargantuan task, Francis Beckett’s book finally gives the ‘little fellow’ his due. He has written a book that carefully delves into Attlee’s upper middle class but loving and open-minded family background.” Dennis Skinner MP


1956 – The Year that Changed Britain, 2016 (Biteback) by Francis Beckett and Tony Russell.

A brilliant account of a seminal year... A masterly overview of society moving from post-war austerity to disillusionment with the established order. Its greatest strength is its telling detail.” Tribune

"1956 is a brilliant concept. It uncovers all the shining stones of the year, tosses each in the waters of time and allows the ripples to ebb and flow backwards to the past and forwards to the future."  Eric Midwinter, Third Age Matters.

Francis Beckett and Tony Russell make an indisputable case for 1956 as ‘the year that changed Britain.” Philip Norman, Daily Mail.

A wonderfully evocative and thoughtful account of a year that saw the ends and beginnings that explain why and how we got to today.” Michael Rosen

Beckett and Russell have done a wonderful job of creating 1956, the year that shaped the rest of the century… An important and absorbing living history book.” Neil Kinnock

The authors have a great eye for the unexpected and the unintentionally comic… I certainly haven’t read a better account of the visit by the Soviet leaders Bulganin and Khrushchev to Britain, marred by the disappearance of the hapless submersible spy Commander Crabb… To match the ‘outsider’ Colin Wilson with the rising novelist Angus Wilson was a clever stroke. Beckett and Russell have a great reporterly flair, from which certain other modern historians could learn….” Andrew Marr, New Statesman.

Blair Inc

Blair Inc – The Man Behind the Mask by Francis Beckett, David Hencke and Nick Kochan (John Blake Publishing, 2015.)

The book collages a substantial volume of information, using it as the basis for a compelling indictment”.  The Guardian

…this invaluable book. It is scrupulously researched, accurate…” Peter Oborne, New Statesman.

Enemy Within

Enemy Within (John Murray, 1995; paperback Merlin Press 1998.)

He has written the story with understanding, critical distance and a sense of the past.  I doubt whether there is at present a more accessible and balanced introduction to the subject.”  Eric Hobsbawm, Times Higher Education Supplement.

Lighter than a history, better grounded than an essay: short, witty, well written and wholly absorbing...He has a good novelist’s gift for portraiture and thinking his way into the mind of very different, and contradictory, characters.”  Grey Gowrie, Daily Telegraph.

A fine and moving story.” Andy Croft, New Statesman.

A fascinating account.”  Julian Critchley, Daily Express.

An excellent book...Beckett is a compelling storyteller.”  Sarah Baxter, The Times.

This lively yet meticulous work...”John Torode, Independent on Sunday.

Lively and well researched.”  Daily Express.

A vivid work based on talking to everyone who mattered, a fine work of research by a Guardian journalist.”  John Vincent, Sunday Telegraph.

Fast-moving and colourful.”  Matt Seaton, Literary Review.