The World: Man for a Season of Decline

Harold Wilson's departure from power closes what historians will probably tag Britain's Wilson Era—a period of painful adjustment to a postEmpire world of narrowing influence and opportunities abroad and unfulfilled expectations at home. As head of government for nearly eight of the past twelve years, Wilson may not have dominated the era, but he was certainly its dominant political figure and symbol, a round, pipe-puffing, wily—some would say shifty—Yorkshireman waging a struggle to hold party and country together.

In 1964, when he first became Prime Minister, Wilson was a man who vowed to...

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