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The Webbs and Soviet communism

Morgan, Kevin (2006) The Webbs and Soviet communism. Bolshevism and the British Left, 2 . Lawrence & Wishart, London. ISBN 9781905007264; 1905007264

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Abstract

This is the second book in Kevin Morgan’s series Bolshevism and the British Left. It explores how the veteran Fabian socialists Beatrice and Sidney Webb came to regard Stalin’s Russia as a 'new civilisation' and the hope of the world. Through a meticulous reconstruction of the Webbs’ thinking, Morgan offers a challenging reassessment of accepted stereotypes. Drawing on their diaries, papers and published writings, he assesses the couple’s complex political evolution over some four decades, and shows how much more significant were their individual responses than the cliché of ‘two typewriters beating as one’ would suggest. While Sidney upheld the statist and technocratic perspectives synonymous with ‘Webbism’, Beatrice also contributed concerns with associationism and the search for a higher social morality. Their love affair with Soviet communism, which seemed to represent both synthesis and transcendence of these different strands of their thought, was far less idiosyncratic than is sometimes thought. Here it is discussed in a broader context, and the paradox that emerges is that across the European left it was often precisely those who had previously been most suspicious of state socialism who subsequently proved most susceptible to its Soviet apotheosis. The Webbs and Soviet Communism is the Part 2 in a three-volume series, Bolshevism and the British Left, which examines attitudes to Soviet Russia as a way of opening up broader questions about the character of the British left between the 1890s and the 1940s. -- Publisher.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CT Biography
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2016 12:41
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2016 12:51
URI: http://webbs.library.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/842

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