“In 1936 British publisher Victor Gollancz founded the Left Book Club to promote socialism and to educate the masses on the growing threat of fascism. A senior editor at the London Review of Books, Laity presents excerpts from influential club selections, including George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, Clifford Odets’s Waiting for Lefty, and Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China. He also provides brief introductions to these works, as well as a 22-page introduction outlining the club’s history. At its height, the club boasted nearly 60,000 members. Despite its popularity, however, Gollancz was frequently criticized for his blind acceptance of the Communist Party line and his uncritical support of the Soviet Union. As a result of the party’s opposition to British intervention in World War II, Gollancz, like Arthur Koestler and many other British intellectuals, abandoned communism. Their subsequent embrace of liberalism is generally credited with the rising fortunes of the Labour Party in 1945. Recommended for academic libraries, especially those with strong collections in the history of publishing.” – William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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