John Beckett was a rising political star. Elected as Labour's youngest M.P. in 1924, he was constantly in the news and tipped for greatness.
But ten years later he was propaganda chief for Mosley's fascists, and one of Britain's three best known anti-Semites.
Yet his mother, whom he loved, was a Jew. Her ancestors were Solomons, Isaacs and Jacobsons, originally from Prussia.
He successfully hid his Jewish ancestry all his life - he said his mother's family were "fisher folk from the east coast." His son, the author of this book, acclaimed political biographer and journalist Francis Beckett, did not discover the truth until John Beckett had been dead for years.
He left Mosley and founded the National Socialist League with William Joyce, later Lord Haw Haw, and spent the war years in prison, considered a danger to the war effort.
For the rest of his life, and all of Francis Beckett's childhood, John Beckett and his family were closely watched by the security services. Their devious machinations, traced in records only recently released, damaged chiefly his young family.
This is a fascinating and brutally honest account of a troubled man in turbulent times.
Francis Beckett is an author, journalist, playwright and contemporary historian. His eighteen books include biographies of four Prime Ministers, the first of which is about his own political hero, Clement Attlee. He has written for several national newspapers, but mostly for the Guardian, for which he was a regular feature writer and reviewer for many years. His plays have been performed on radio and at the London Fringe. He is a former president of the National Union of Journalists and a Labour Party and trade union press officer and editor, and is currently editor of Third Age Matters, the national magazine published by the University of the Third Age.
Introduction 1. Eva Solomon and the Yeomen of Cheshire 2. The Legacy of War 3. Major Attlee and Corporal Beckett 4. The Theatre and the General Election 5. Labour's Youngest MP 6. The 1926 General Strike 7. A Complicated Life 8. The Death of Hope 9. Playing to the Gallery 10. 1931 11. Dying on Stage 12. A Life in Ruins 13. Anne 14. The Streetfighter 15. Following the Bleeder 16. Jew-Baiting and Standing by the King 17. The National Socialist League 18. The Anti-War Faction 19. Prison 20. Mr Morrison's Prisoner 21. A Birth and A Hanging 22. Indian Summer 23. The Catholic Church and the Soul of the Far Right 24. A Family in Freefall 25. Struts and Frets His Hour Upon The Stage, and then is Heard No More 26. Legacy of a Jewish Anti Semite