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book cover of Tressell


The Real Story of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
A non fiction book by

Not many novels about working-class life have been reprinted over a hundred times in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Russia, Holland Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Japan. Even fewer have sold over a million copies. Hardly any have been so often adapted for the stage, or featured on TV and radio. Above all, none have been passed from hand to hand as often by workers, and taken to their hearts. Robert Tressell's novel "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" is straightforward and highly readable, but it is also a very odd book. After all, novels don't usually explain key points of Marxist theory. True, it has humour, parody, pathos, irony, rage, little victories, defeats, arguments and ideas, and it is brim full of contempt for the ruling class. But what practical political appeal can a tale of isolated Socialists, fighting for a Co-operative Commonwealth, possibly have today? Dave Harker describes Tressell's life, puts his book in its historical context, and traces its success over the past 90-odd years. This is the story of the left in Britain, from the Socialist Federation in the late 19th century, through to the trade union movement and New Labour today.


Used availability for Dave Harker's Tressell

Paperback Editions

July 2003 : UK Paperback

Title: Tressell: The Real Story of 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'
Author(s): Dave Harker
ISBN: 1-84277-385-2 / 978-1-84277-385-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Zed Books
Availability: Amazon