1956 1956
John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner

1956 was a year of political drama. It saw the Anglo-French seizure of the Suez Canal, Nikita Khrushchev’s Secret Speech, denouncing Stalin,unrest across Eastern Europe and the Russian invasion of Hungary.
This book discusses the convulsions which enveloped the Communist Party of Great Britain in the aftermath of Khrushchev’s revelations. It reprints the text of The Reasoner for the first time in 60 years. It tells the story of this dissident journal and its editors: John Saville and E.P. Thompson. The Reasoner proved critical in organising opposition to Stalinism in the Communist Party.

• Original essays explore how the events of 1956 came about, their impact on British Communism and the political thinking of Saville and Thompson
• The editors have provided detailed notes on each issue and a selection of documents from both the party leadership and its opponents.
Meticulously evidenced, thought-provoking and iconoclastic, this text will be essential reading for all those seeking to understand British Communism and the politics of Marxism in the second half of the twentieth century.

'This book is an important and a vital read to all those concerned with the history of Marxism in Britain. Undoubtedly, the essays, if not the documents, may well divide opinion. It may be challenged by those who feel that there was a democratic polemic developing within the CPGB in the early and mid-1950s. It may also be rejected by those or by those who still believe that, despite its fault, Stalinism and the cult of the Soviet Union were essential to the success of Marxism and preferable to both the ideas of Trotsky and Trotskyist organisations. Nevertheless, this edited collection and its essays are a powerful reminder of the immense importance of Saville and Thompson in promoting a polemic to challenge Stalinism in the Communist Party of Great Britain. This book deserves to be widely read.' Labor History Review

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.