The Lancashire Giant tells the story of a nine-year-old cotton weaver who went on to carve out two extraordinary careers for himself. In the first, David Shackleton became a truly dominating presence in the Edwardian trade union movement, was the third MP to be elected under the banner of the Labour party, and played a critical role in the infancy of the party. His second career, begun at Winston Churchill’s prompting in 1910, took him to the summit of the British civil service and to active participation in the deliberations of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet. Prominent union officials have frequently become government ministers, but none has repeated Shackleton’s achievement in becoming the permanent secretary of a ministry.
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