Harold Wilson (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As prime minister for eight years, from 1964 to 1976, Wilson became the most successful politician of the postwar era, winning four general elections of the five he contested as leader of the Labour Party.
James Harold Wilson was born on March 11, 1916, in Huddersfield, England. His father, Herbert Wilson, was an industrial chemist; his mother, Ethel, had been trained as a teacher. Wilson attended the local grammar school until he was fourteen, when the family moved to Cheshire. Wilson was an outstanding student at his new school, Wirral Grammar, and also a good sportsman, captaining the Rugby football team. In 1934, he won a partial scholarship to Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics. Studious and brilliant, Wilson won a number of prizes and was graduated in 1937 with first-class honors, the highest degree available; his was widely thought to be the best academic performance for fifty years. Then, at the age of twenty-one, he became a lecturer in economics at New College, Oxford, an extraordinary feat for one so young.
When World War II erupted, Wilson joined the civil service. After serving in two minor posts, his reputation as an economist secured for him a position as an economic assistant to the War Cabinet Secretariat. During this time, he married Gladys Mary Baldwin, the daughter of a Congregationalist minister. They had first met in 1934....
(The entire section is 2045 words.)
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