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Robert Barltrop

Book Review: 'The Iron Heel'

A Future With No Future

'The Iron Heel', by Jack London. (Journeyman Press; paperback 75p., hardback £2.50)

This is the first of a series of reissues of working-class and radical "classics". The Iron Heel was last published in Britain in 1947 and — apart from more sumptuous American editions — is generally available only in second-hand copies from the old Mills & Boon shilling edition of all Jack London's works. A new French edition (Le Talon de Fer) appeared in 1972.

Book Reviews: 'Why You Should be a Socialist'

Infantile Disorders

'Why You Should be a Socialist', by John Strachey. Gollancz, 2d. 1938.

'Why You Should be a Socialist', by Paul Foot. Socialist Worker, 35p. 1977.

Strachey's pamphlet sold over 300,000 copies before the war. It is not difficult to see why. It was simply-written and readable, and the early chapters gave some enlightenment about the class division in society, wages and capitalist production.

Reformism: A Waste of Precious Time

The part of the case that separates Socialists most firmly from all other attitudes is our insistence that reform will not do. It is the cause of the most pressure and argument by those who want our energy given to their causes: there are struggles going on for innumerable things, and we should be in all that flailing-about. And to many whose hearts rule their heads it is continually unpalatable. With the world full of misery and suffering, surely — they say — attempts at alleviation must be made; the efforts may be foredoomed, but the compunction at not making them is too great.

TV Review: Quare Phenomena

Another month come and gone, and the writing of these notes an almost frightening reminder of how many hours of the best years of one's life have been spent in glassiness before the screen, a woodbine-smoking Lady of Shalott gazing in one's Magic Mirror.

Not every month, however, yields two plays of such quality as The Quare Fellow and The Greatest Man on Earth. The Brendan Behan piece came over well in its television version, in spite of the condensations of both text and space. A tremendous indictment of prison-keeping, this, all the more because it never explicitly indicts at all: only shows the stupidity and barbarity and humbug, and what it does to everyone concerned.

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