Party People, Communist Lives

Explorations in Biography

Editor(s): 
Jan 2001
/
ISBN: 
9780853159360
/
256
pp
£20.00

As a result of research in the previously closed archives in Moscow, this collection of biographical essays depicts the lives of British revolutionaries and a group of British Communists in the beginning of the 20th century. The biographies include daredevil female Communists, hardy trade union leaders, and an odd sexual outlaw, as well as the traditional lawyers, poets, and critics. Through the diverse and pioneering lives of these individuals and the editors’ essays on the importance of biography to history (and specifically Communist history), this collection illustrates the complexities of the European left.

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As a result of research in the previously closed archives in Moscow, this collection of biographical essays depicts the lives of British revolutionaries and a group of British Communists in the beginning of the 20th century. The biographies include daredevil female Communists, hardy trade union leaders, and an odd sexual outlaw, as well as the traditional lawyers, poets, and critics. Through the diverse and pioneering lives of these individuals and the editors’ essays on the importance of biography to history (and specifically Communist history), this collection illustrates the complexities of the European left.

The book also depicts the tragic fate of groups of British Communists who encountered Stalinism at first hand in the USSR. Much of the information in this section, as elsewhere in the book, is the result of new research on released material form previously closed archives in Moscow. 

These perceptive readings of individual lives qualitatively extend our comprehension of the complexities of the European left, particularly when read alongside the editors’s essays which explore the importance of biography to history in general and to communist history in particular. 

“Enlarges our understanding of the lives of some of those who became members of the Communist Party in Great Britain.”

- Choice