"The Lost World of British Communism" is a rare act of political remembrance without nostalgia, by one of postwar Britain's most notable historians. This extraordinary attempt at writing a new kind of history of the Communist Party of Great Britain - part social history, part memoir, part intellectual history - draws on novels and his own childhood recollections of London's East End as well as on memoirs and Party archives. In it, Samuel evokes the world of British Communism in the 1940s, when the movement was at the peak of its political and theoretical power, bringing together a remarkable group of Marxist historians. First published in the "New Left Review" between 1985 and 1987, "The Lost World of British Communism" was prophetic in raising questions over socialist motivation and collective identity in the mid-1980s, and warning of the dangers of an amnesiac surrender of the Communist past.
Raphael Samuel (1934-1996) was a tutor in History at Ruskin College, Oxford, and a founding editor of History Workshop Journal. In 1995 he became professor at the University of East London. Verso has also published the highly acclaimed Theatres of Memory, and the follow-up volume, Island Stories.