Labour's Greatest Hero
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Publisher: Lion Hudson Plc
Number of Pages: 288
Keir Hardie was a complicated man. Born illegitimate just outside Glasgow in 1856, his life didn't start gently. Before the age of ten he was the sole wage earner in his working class, atheist family. After the Christian baker he assisted fired him for being late to work (he'd been nursing his sick mother), he ended up in the coal pits at 11. He never went to school but was self-taught, avidly reading books lent him by a kind young clergyman. His life saw two major conversions: first to Christianity, and then to socialism. Most biographies omit the former, pointing out his experience of hardship as the source of his passion for social justice. But the role of Christianity in his life was profound, and without it a true picture of this extraordinary life cannot be drawn. Hardie was no plaster saint. But his fully human story - about rising above hardship to forge a better world - continues to be a source of inspiration today.