[Marxism] New Book: Paul Flewers and John McIlroy (editors), 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at blueyonder.co.uk
Wed Dec 7 09:13:45 MST 2016

List members may be interested in a new book which I have co-edited.

Paul Flewers and John McIlroy (editors), 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The
Reasoner (Merlin Press, pp 450, £20)

When Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin in his ‘Secret Speech’ in 1956 the
leaders of the Communist Party of Great Britain attempted to deal with an
unprecedented and unwelcome situation by carrying on as best as normal. Many
party members were not satisfied with their prevarications, and one result was
The Reasoner, a substantial duplicated magazine produced by party historians
John Saville and EP Thompson. The three issues of The Reasoner gave an outlet to
critical party members’ feelings; for the leadership this was mutinous
behaviour. Dismayed by the party leaders’ endorsement of the Soviet invasion of
Hungary, Saville and Thompson, along with thousands of others, resigned their
party membership.

Although The Reasoner has been mentioned in many historical studies, its text
has never been republished until now. This book reproduces all three issues,
together with key CPGB statements on the issues that the magazine raised. John
McIlroy has provided an extensive introduction that investigates the history of
intellectuals within the CPGB and an essay that analyses the political evolution
of John Saville, and Paul Flewers has provided an essay that assesses EP
Thompson’s views on Stalinism and the Soviet experience.


1.  Preface
2.  Chronology
3.  John McIlroy, Communist Intellectuals and 1956: John Saville, Edward
Thompson and The Reasoner
4.  Documents I — Harry Pollitt, Rajani Palme Dutt, George Matthews, John
Saville, EP Thompson, Derek Kartun, CPGB Political Committee
5.  The Reasoner, No 1
6.  The Reasoner, No 2
7.  Documents II — CPGB Political and Executive Committee on The Reasoner
8.  The Reasoner, No 3
9.  Ronald Meek, The Marxist-Leninist’s Song
10.  John McIlroy, John Saville and Stalinism: An Exploration
11.  Paul Flewers, E P Thompson and the Soviet Experience
12.  Index

Paul Flewers is the author of The New Civilisation? Understanding Stalin’s
Soviet Union 1929-1941 and an editor of Revolutionary History.

John McIlroy is a Professor of Employment Relations at Middlesex University
Business School.

Order your copy here < http://www.merlinpress.co.uk/acatalog/1956.html >.

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