R. H. Tawney was the most influential theorist and exponent of socialism in Britain in the 20th century and also a leading historian. Based on papers deposited at the London School of Economics including a collection of personal material previously held by his family, this book provides the first detailed biography. Lawrence Goldman shows that to understand Tawney's work it is necessary to understand his life. This biography takes a broadly chronological approach, and uses this framework to examine major themes, including Tawney's political thought and historical writings. Tawney was the most representative of Labour's intellectuals as well as the most influential, and the contradictions he embodied are evident in the general history of British socialism.