Brian Abel-Smith was one of the most in influential expert advisers of the twentieth century in shaping social welfare. He was a modern-day Thomas Paine, driven by a strong socialist mission to improve the lives of the poorest. This valuable and accessible book is the first biography of Abel-Smith. It takes a historical perspective to analyse the development of health and social welfare systems since the 1950s, exposing the critical impact of long-running debates on poverty and state responsibility, especially in Britain. This book also provides the first comparative study of how developing countries sought better health and social welfare, enabled by the World Health Organisation and other agencies for whom Abel-Smith regularly worked. This book offers an engaging and useful study for students and researchers in health and social policy, history, politics and economics. It will also be essential reading for professionals working in those government ministries and institutions that Brian Abel-Smith helped to shape.