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Left Book Club


John Simkin
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In January 1936, the publisher, Victor Gollancz, the writer, John Strachey and Harold Laski, the Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics, creating the Left Book Club. The main aim was to spread socialist ideas and to resist the rise of fascism in Britain. Gollancz announced: "The aim of the Left Book Club is a simple one. It is to help in the terribly urgent struggle for world peace and against fascism, by giving, to all who are willing to take part in that struggle, such knowledge as will immensely increase their efficiency."

Ben Pimlott, the author of Labour and the Left (1977) has argued: "The basic scheme of the Club was simple. For 2s 6d members received a Left Book of the Month, chosen by the Selection Committee - which consisted of Gollancz, John Strachey and Harold Laski. Left-wing books could be guaranteed a high circulation without risk to the publisher, while members received them at a greatly reduced rate."

Victor Gollancz had hoped to recruit 10,000 members in the first year. In fact, he achieved over 45,000. By the end of the first year the Left Book Club had had 730 local discussion groups, and it estimated that these were attended by an average total of 12,000 people every fortnight. As Ben Pimlott pointed out: "In April 1937 Gollancz launched the Left Book Club Theatre Guild with a full-time organiser; nine months later 200 theatre groups had been established, and 45 had already performed plays. Sporting activities and recreations were also catered for." As The Tribune newspaper pointed out, "walks, tennis, golf and swimming are quite different when your campanions... are... comrades of the left". By March 1938, membership of the Left Book Club had reached 58,000.

Would the idea work today?

Here is a full list of the books published by the Left Book Club:

• Acland, Richard. Only one battle. (November 1937)

• *Acland, Richard. Public speaking. (May 1946)

• *Acland, Richard. What it will be like in the new Britain. (December 1941)

• *Addison, Lord. A policy for British agriculture. (January 1939)

• *Aguirre, Jose Antonio de. Freedom was flesh and blood. (May 1945)

• *Allan, Seema Rynin. Comrades and citizens. (November 1938)

• Allen, Frederick. Can capitalism last? (March 1938)

• *Anderson, Evelyn. Hammer or anvil. (June 1945)

• Arnot, R. Page. A short history of the Russian Revolution, Vol. I. (October 1937)

• Arnot, R. Page. A short history of the Russian Revolution, Vol. II. (December 1937)

• *Attlee, Clement R. The Labour Party in perspective. (August 1937)

• Baker, Joseph. The law of political uniforms, public meetings and private armies. (January 1938)

• *Barnes, Leonard. Empire or democracy? (March 1939)

• *Barou, N. British trade unions. (March 1947)

• *Barou, N. The Co-operative Movement in Labour Britain. (February

1948)

• *“Barrister, A” [Hill, Mavis]. Justice in England. (July 1938)

• Bartlett, Francis H. Sigmund Freud. (November 1938)

• *Bateson, F.W., ed. Towards a Socialist agriculture. (February 1946)

• Beck, Alan. Chemistry: a survey. (May 1939)

• *Belfrage, Cedric. Let my people go. (February 1940)

• *Belfrage, Cedric. Promised land. (February 1938)

• Bernstein, Hillel. Choose a bright morning. (July 1936)

• *Bhattacharya, Bhabani. So many hungers. (December 1947)

• Bibby, H.C. The evolution of man and his culture. (October 1938)

• Bibby, H.C. Heredity: eugenics and social progress. (July 1939)

• Birtles, Birt. Exiles in the Aegean. (October 1938)

• *Blum, Leon. For all mankind. (June 1946)

• *Brady, Robert A. The spirit and structure of German Fascism. (September 1937)

• *Brailsford, H.N. Subject India. (April 1943)

• Brailsford, H.N. Why capitalism means war. (August 1938)

• *Braunthal, Julius. In search of the millenium. (July 1945)

• *Braunthal, Julius. Need Germany survive? (May 1943)

• *Braunthal, Julius. The tragedy of Austria. (Summer 1948)

• *Brockway, Fenner. German diary. (October 1946)

• *Brockway, Fenner and Mullally, Frederic. Death pays a dividend. (July 1944)

• *Brontman, L. On top of the world. (April 1938)

• *Browne, Lewis. Something went wrong. (December 1942)

• *Burger, John. The black man’s burden. (March 1943)

• Burns, Emile, ed. A handbook of Marxism. (July 1937)

• Burns, Emile. Money. (July 1937)

• Burns, Emile. What is Marxism? (June 1939)

• Bush, Alan and Swingler, Randall, eds. The Left song book. (March 1938)

• Cambridge Scientists Anti-war Group. The protection of the public from aerial attack. (February 1937)

• *Campbell, Alexander. Empire in Africa. (April 1944)

• *Campbell, Alexander. It’s your Empire. (August 1945)

• Campbell, J.R. Soviet policy and its critics. (February 1939)

• *Carter, Barbara Barclay. Italy speaks. (December 1946)

• Clark, F. Le Gros and Clark, Ida. The adventures of the little pig and other stories. (November 1937)

• *Cohen, Max. I was one of the unemployed. (October 1945)

• *Coldwell, M.J. Left turn Canada. (November 1945)

• *Cole, G.D.H. Europe, Russia and the future. (October 1941)

• *Cole, G.D.H. Great Britain in the post-war world. (November 1942)

• *Cole, G.D.H. The meaning of Marxism. (October 1948)

• *Cole, G.D.H. The means to full employment. (October 1943)

• *Cole, G.D.H. The People’s Front. (July 1937)

• Cole, G.D.H. War aims. (November 1939)

• Cole, G.D.H. and Cole, M.I. The condition of Britain. (April 1937)

• Cole, G.D.H. see also “Populus”

• Collard, Dudley. Soviet justice and the trial of Radek and others. (March 1937)

• Collier, Henry. An interpretation of biology. (January 1938)

• *Constantine, Murray. Swastika night. (July 1940)

• *Coombes, B.L. These poor hands. (June 1939)

• Cox, Geoffrey. Defence of Madrid. (March 1937)

• Cripps, Stafford. The struggle for peace. (November 1936)

• Crowther, J.G. Science and life. (June 1938)

• *Crum, Bartley C. Behind the silken curtain. (Summer 1947)

• Daiches, David. Literature and society. (January 1938)

• Davies, Ernest. “National” capitalism. (August 1939)

• *Davies, Ernest. National enterprise. (September 1946)

• *Davies, Joseph E. Mission to Moscow, Part I. (May 1942)

• *Davies, Joseph E. Mission to Moscow, Part II. (June 1942)

• *Deva, Jaya. Japan’s Kampf. (January 1942)

• Dodd, William E. Ambassador Dodd’s diary. (March 1941)

• Donington, Robert and Donington, Barbara. The citizen faces war. (May 1937)

• Duncan-Jones, A.S. The struggle for religious freedom in Germany. (September 1938)

• *Dutt, R. Palme. India today. (May 1940)

• *Dutt, R. Palme. World politics 1918-1936. (July 1936)

• *Edelman, Maurice. Production for victory, not profit! (September 1941)

• Erckner, S. Hitler’s conspiracy against peace. (June 1937)

• *Evans, Jon. The Nazi new order in Poland. (July 1941)

• Fagan, H. Nine days that shook England. (August 1938)

• Farrington, Benjamin. The civilisation of Greece and Rome. (February

1938)

• Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow 1937. (July 1937)

• Fraser, Geoffrey and Natanson, Thadée. Leon Blum: man and statesman. (December 1937)

• *Freeman, Joseph. An American testament. (June 1938)

• *Frölich, Paul. Rosa Luxemburg. (April 1940)

• *Gannes, Harry and Repard, Theodore. Spain in revolt. (December 1936)

• *Gant, Roland. How like a wilderness. (March 1946)

• *Gedye, G.E.R. Fallen bastions. (February 1939)

• *Gelder, Stuart. The Chinese Communists. (January 1946)

• Gillespie, James. An introduction to economic botany. ((September 1937)

• Gollan, John. Youth in British industry. (August 1937)

• Gollancz, Victor, ed. The betrayal of the left. (February 1941)

• Gollancz, Victor. Is Mr. Chamberlain saving the peace? (April 1939)

• *Gollancz, Victor. Our threatened values. (July 1946)

• Greaves, H.R.G. and Thomson, David. The truth about Spain. (September 1938)

• Griffith, Edward F. Modern marriage and birth control. (July 1937)

• Gruber, Ruth. I went to the Soviet Arctic. (September 1939)

• *Haag, Lina. How long the night. (June 1948)

• *Hagen, Paul. Will Germany crack? (February 1943)

• *Haldane, J.B.S. A.R.P. (September 1938)

• Haldane, J.B.S. How to be safe from air raids. (November 1938)

• *Hamilton, Thomas J. Appeasement’s child. (July 1943)

• Hammond, J.L. and Hammond, Barbara. The town labourer, 1760-1832. (August 1937)

• *Hannington, Wal. The problem of the distressed areas. (November 1937)

• Hannington, Wal. A short history of the unemployed. (September 1938)

• *Hannington, Wal. Ten lean years. (March 1940)

• Harrisson, Tom. Savage civilisation. (September 1937)

• *Haxey, Simon. Tory M.P. (July 1939)

• *Heiden, Konrad. Der Fuehrer, Part I. (September 1944)

• *Heiden, Konrad. Der Fuehrer, Part II. (October 1944)

• *Heinemann, Margot. Britain’s coal. (May 1944)

• Hill, Mavis see “Barrister, A”

• *Hill, Russell. Struggle for Germany. (April 1947)

• Hirschfeld, Magnus. Racism. (January 1938)

• *Hogg, George. I see a new China. (January 1945)

• “Holorenshaw, Henry” [Joseph Needham]. The Levellers and the English Revolution. (March 1939)

• Horrabin, J.F. An atlas of current affairs. (December 1936)

• Horrabin, J.F. An atlas of empire. (February 1937)

• Huberman, Leo. The labour spy racket. (January 1938)

• *Huberman, Leo. Man’s worldly goods. (April 1937)

• *Huberman, Leo. We, the people. (August 1940)

• Hunter, Neil. Peasantry and crisis in France. (February 1938)

• *Hutt, Allen. The post-war history of the British working class. (June 1937)

• Janowski, Oscar I. People at bay... (October 1938)

• Jellinek, Frank. The Civil War in Spain. (June 1938)

• *Jellinek, Frank. The Paris Commune of 1871. (February 1937)

• Jewkes, John and Jewkes, Sylvia. The juvenile labour market. (May 1938)

• Joesten, Joachim. Denmark’s day of doom. (January 1939)

• Johnson, Hewlett. Act now: an appeal to the mind and heart of Britain. (March 1939)

• *Johnson, Hewlett. The Socialist sixth of the world. (December 1939)

• Johnson, Hewlett, and others. Report of a Religious Delegation to Spain. (May 1937)

• *Jones, F. Elwyn. The battle for peace. (August 1938)

• *Josephs, Ray. Argentine diary. (February 1945)

• [Katz, Otto]. The Nazi conspirary in Spain. (January 1937)

• *Keppel-Jones, Arthur M. When Smuts goes. (November 1947)

• King, Beatrice. Changing man: the education system in the U.S.S.R. (June 1937)

• *Koestler, Arthur. The scum of the earth. (May 1941)

• *Koestler, Arthur. Spanish testament. (December 1937)

• Kolnai, Aurel. War against the West. (July 1938)

• *Korngold, Ralph. Citizen Toussaint. (April 1945)

• Kuczynski, Jürgen. The condition of the workers in Great Britain, Germany and the Soviet Union, 1928-1938. (August 1939)

• *Laski, Harold J. Faith, reason and civilisation. (February 1944)

• *Laurat, Lucien. Marxism and democracy. (November 1940)

• *Levy, H. A philosophy for a modern man. (January 1938)

• *Levy, Louis. France is a democracy. (August 1943)

• Lewis, John. An introduction to philosophy. (November 1937)

• Lewis, John, ed. A textbook of Marxist philosophy. (May 1937)

• Lewis, John, et al., eds. Christianity and the social revolution. (May 1937)

• *Lingens-Reiner, Ella. Prisoners of fear. (April 1948)

• Loewenstein, Hubertus Friedrich, Prince of. A Catholic in Republican Spain. (November 1937)

• Macardle, Dorothy. The Irish Republic. (September 1937)

• *Macartney, Wilfrid. Walls have mouths. (September 1936)

• M’Gonigle, G.C.M. and Kirby, J. Poverty and public health. (September 1936)

• *McNeill, W.H. The Greek dilemma. (May 1947)

• Mahon, John A. Trade unionism. (March 1938)

• *Mallalieu, J.P.W. “Passed to you, please”. (July 1942)

• Mallalieu, J.P.W. see also “Pied Piper, The”

• Malleson, Miles and Brooks, H. Six men of Dorset. (June 1937)

• *Malraux, André. Days of contempt. (August 1936)

• *Maynard, John. Russia in flux. (August 1941)

• *Maynard, John. The Russian peasant: and other studies, Part I. (September 1942)

• *Maynard, John. The Russian peasant: and other studies, Part II. (October 1942)

• *Monte, Hilda. The unity of Europe. (September 1943)

• Moore, W.G. The geography of capitalism. (December 1938)

• Morris, M. The people’s schools. (February 1939)

• *Morton, A.L. A people’s history of England. (May 1938)

• *Mosley, Leonard O. Report from Germany. (September 1945)

• *Moulin, Leo. Socialism of the West. (January 1948)

• Mulgan, John, ed. Poems of freedom. (December 1938)

• Muller, H.J. Out of the night. (May 1936)

• *Myklebost, Tor. They came as friends. (June 1943)

• National Congress of Peace and Friendship with the U.S.S.R., 2nd. For

peace and friendship. (August 1937)

• Needham, Joseph see “Holorenshaw, Henry”

• *Neumann, Franz. Behemoth. (August 1942)

• Newitt, Hilary. Women must choose. (June 1937)

• Noel-Baker, Philip. The private manufacture of armaments. (October 1936)

• Odets, Clifford. Waiting for Lefty. (June 1937)

• *Olden, Rudolf. Hitler the pawn. (June 1936)

• *Orwell, George. The road to Wigan Pier. (March 1937)

• Orwell, George. The road to Wigan Pier [Part one only]. (May 1937)

• Osborn, Reuben. Freud and Marx. (March 1937)

• Osborn, Reuben. The psychology of reaction. (April 1938)

• *Padley, W.E. The economic problem of the peace. (June 1944)

• *Palencia, Isabel de. Smouldering freedom. (November 1946)

• *Paloczy-Horvath, G. In darkest Hungary. (November 1944)

• *Paul, Oscar. Farewell, France! (December 1940)

• *Paul, Oscar. Underground Europe calling. (March 1942)

• *Pearlman, Maurice. Adventure in the sun. (September 1947)

• *Petegorsky, David W. Left wing democracy in the English Civil War. (October 1940)

• Petersen, Jan. Our street. (February 1938)

• *“ Pied Piper, The” [J.P.W. Mallalieu]. Rats! (February 1941)

• Plummer, Alfred. Raw materials or war materials? (February 1937)

• “Populus” [G.D.H. Cole]. My Dear Churchill. (April 1941)

• *Rader, Melvin. No compromise. (October 1939)

• *Ramos Oliveira, A. A people’s history of Germany. (April 1942)

• Rathbone, Eleanor F. War can be averted. (January 1938)

• *Rau, Santha Rama. Home to India. (December 1945)

• *Reimann, Guenter. Patents for Hitler. (March 1945)

• Ripka, Hubert. Munich: before and after. (October 1939)

• *Roth, Andrew. Dilemma in Japan. (April 1946)

• Rowland, John. Understanding the atom. (November 1938)

• *Russell, A.G. Colour, race and empire. (August 1944)

• Sacks, George. The Jewish question. (August 1937)

• Salvemini, Gaetano. Italian fascism. (July 1938)

• *Salvemini, Gaetano. Under the axe of Fascism. (October 1936)

• *Salvemini, Gaetano and La Piana, George. What to do with Italy. (November 1943)

• Schaffer, Gordon. Riches and poverty. (April 1939)

• *Schlotterbeck, Friedrich. The darker the night, the brighter the stars. (January1947)

• Schmidt, Carl T. The corporate state in action. (July 1939)

• *Schuschnigg, Kurt von. Austrian requiem. (October 1947)

• Scott, R.B.Y. and Vlastos, Gregory, eds. Towards the Christian revolution. (July 1937)

• Segal, Charles S. Penn’orth of chips. (May 1939)

• Serebrennikov, G.N. The position of women in the U.S.S.R. (January 1937)

• Sigerist, Henry E. Socialised medicine in the Soviet Union. (November 1937)

• *Simon, Sir E.D. Rebuilding Britain: a twenty year plan. (December 1944)

• *Simon, Sir E.D. The smaller democracies. (August 1939)

• *Sloan, Pat. Soviet democracy. (May 1937)

• *Smedley, Agnes. Battle hymn of China. (December 1943)

• *Smedley, Agnes. China fights back. (December 1938)

• *Smith, Aubrey Douglas. Guilty Germans? (February 1942)

• *Snow, Edgar. Red star over China. (October 1937)

• *Snow, Edgar. Scorched earth, Part I. (March 1941)

• *Snow, Edgar. Scorched earth, Part II. (April 1941)

• *Spender, Stephen. Forward from Liberalism. (January 1937)

• *Sternberg, Fritz. The coming crisis. (June 1947)

• Stewart, Neil. Blanqui. (June 1939)

• Stone, Hannah and Stone, Abraham. A marriage manual. (August 1939)

• Strachey, John. The coming struggle for power. (September 1937)

• *Strachey, John. A faith to fight for. (January 1941)

• *Strachey, John. Federalism or Socialism? (September 1940)

• *Strachey, John. A programme for progress. (January 1940)

• *Strachey, John. The theory and practice of Socialism. (November 1936)

• *Strachey, John. What are we to do? (March 1938)

• Strachey, John. Why you should be a socialist. (May 1938)

• *Sturmthal, Adolf. The tragedy of European labour. (January 1944)

• Swingler, Stephen. An outline of political thought since the French Revolution. (January 1939)

• Tawney, R.H. The acquisitive society. (November 1937)

• Temperley, H.J. What war means. (July 1938)

• Thompson, W.H. Civil liberties. (April 1938)

• *Thorez, Maurice. France today and the People’s Front. (May 1936)

• *Torres, Henry. Pierre Laval. (November 1941)

• *Verulam, Frank. Production for the people. (June 1940)

• *Vespa, Amleto. Secret agent of Japan. (October 1938)

• “Vigilantes” [Konni Zilliacus]. The road to war. (April 1937)

• “Vigilantes” [Konni Zilliacus]. Why the League has failed. (May 1938)

• “Vigilantes” [Konni Zilliacus]. Why we are losing the peace. (March

1939)

• *Walker, Oliver. Kaffirs are lively. (May 1948)

• Webb, Sidney and Webb, Beatrice. Soviet Communism: a new civilisation. (October1937)

• *Werner, Max. Battle for the world. (June 1941)

• *Werner, Max. The great offensive. (January 1943)

• *Werner, Max. The military strength of the powers. (April 1939)

• *White, Amber Blanco. The new propaganda. (May 1939)

• *Wilkinson, Ellen. The town that was murdered. (September 1939)

• *Wolfendale, Wlfrid. History has tongues. (August 1946)

• *Woolf, Leonard. Barbarians at the gate. (November 1939)

• Young, Edgar P. Czechoslovakia. (June 1938)

• *Young, Michael. Labour’s plan for plenty. (February 1947)

• *Zilliacus, Konni. The mirror of the past. (March 1944)

• Zilliacus, Konni. see also “Vigilantes”

• *Zweig, F. Labour, life and poverty. (March 1948)

• *Zweig, F. Men in the pits. (September 1948)

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Jgollancz.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUleftbook.htm

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I think any idea that factors in the eventual loss of free speech on the internet (happening now) is worth considering. Many publications reached Australia through the Merchent Marines in the days when international transmission was hampered. Those who are interested in fighting Fascism (the last gasp of Capitalism) must build networks not beholden to the means controlled by the Status Quo.

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The Spanish Civil War was another subject that was well-covered by the Left Book Club. This included Harry Gannes and Theodore Repard (Spain in Revolt, December 1936), Geoffrey Cox (Defence of Madrid, March 1937), Hewlett Johnson (Report of a Religious Delegation to Spain, May 1937), Hubertus Friedrich Loewenstein, A Catholic in Republican Spain (November 1937), Arthur Koestler (Spanish Testament, December 1937) and Frank Jellinek (The Civil War in Spain, June 1938). However, Victor Gollancz rejected the idea of publishing Homage to Catalonia. In the book George Orwell attempted to expose the propaganda disseminated by newspapers in Britain. This included attacks on both the right-wing press and the Daily Worker, a paper controlled by the Communist Party of Great Britain. Although one of the best books ever written about war, it sold only 1,500 copies during the next twelve years.

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I think any idea that factors in the eventual loss of free speech on the internet (happening now) is worth considering.

What? Did I read you right? Are you anti-free speech on the internet? If not, why would one "consider" such an idea? Perhaps it is a different usage of certain words in the language that confuses me? I know there are subtle and not so subtle changes in meaning from American English to Australian English and vice versa.

Many publications reached Australia through the Merchent Marines in the days when international transmission was hampered. Those who are interested in fighting Fascism (the last gasp of Capitalism) must build networks not beholden to the means controlled by the Status Quo.

No, there's no mistaking your meaning this time! You really believe that Fascism is the "last gasp" of Capitalism? Oh my! How are you personally defining Capitalism?

Edited by Greg Burnham
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I think any idea that factors in the eventual loss of free speech on the internet (happening now) is worth considering.

What? Did I read you right? Are you anti-free speech on the internet? If not, why would one "consider" such an idea? Perhaps it is a different usage of certain words in the language that confuses me? I know there are subtle and not so subtle changes in meaning from American English to Australian English and vice versa.

Many publications reached Australia through the Merchent Marines in the days when international transmission was hampered. Those who are interested in fighting Fascism (the last gasp of Capitalism) must build networks not beholden to the means controlled by the Status Quo.

No, there's no mistaking your meaning this time! You really believe that Fascism is the "last gasp" of Capitalism? Oh my! How are you personally defining Capitalism?

What I wrote is right.

You read it in the way that you have been conditioned to read it, so, yes, it is a cultural matter.

Read John's contributions. Then read mine in the light of the actual matters that he covered and how,in the time of no free speech, there were very effective data transmission means available to ordinary persons that in a modern setting by passes the regionalising of the internet, remember that all it takes is a switch, and people won't be able to talk to each other anymore.

Are you, and others, under some sincere delusion that you are in control of the internet?

____

Capitalism is a legalised, by previous struggles, eg : to wit the english civil war to make the road open for what has become capitalism, control of the earths resources according to the antithesis of communism as a dominant dogma of to each according to their need , from each according to their ability, but instead its opposite where the destiny of the vast majority lie in the hands of a tiny minority.

If you like we could go on to discuss the contents of these books listed by John.

Edited by John Dolva
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