Michael Young is one of the key figures in British twentieth century history. Focusing on family, community and social change, he has cascaded ideas, in the process coining new words, like 'meritocracy'. He has also initiated or played a major role in creating new and well-known organisations. These include the Consumers' Association, the Open University, and the National and International Extension Colleges. In 1945 he drafted the Labour Party's successful election manifesto Let Us Face the Future : in 1965 he was the first Chairman of the new Social Science Research Council.
'That Briggs is able to draw out the main aspects of Young's politics from such a diverse life is the book's main achievement...This is a long overdue biography and its importance is indicated in the range of scholars who will find it useful. That is, it will be of great value to historians of the postwar Labour government, the development of academic sociology and the rise of the social sciences, education policy, orgainized consumerism and consumer politics, and notions of social democracy.' - Matthew Hilton, The Economic History Review
'...a stimulating introduction to a major British cultural figure.' - Choice
'Immortalises the achievements of a figure without whose creative ideas we might never have had either the Consumers' Association or the Open University.' - The Sunday Times
'Asa Briggs has done us a great service with this densly written biography. Six years in the making, with the close collaboration of its subject, it presents his work in its various contemporary contexts, which incidentally will make the book an invaluable source for those studying the political, social and educational history of the past half century.' - Peter Cox, Times Higher Education Supplement
'An invaluable source for those studying the political, social and educational history of the past half century.' - The Times Higher Educational Supplement