1973: London is drab, faded by economic decline. The optimism of the post-war boom is gone. The world is split into two opposed systems, the capitalist west and the planned economies of the east, dominated by undemocratic bureaucracies.

While no historical period is identical with Britain now, the tumultuous events that shook the country 80 years ago – combining the great depression, a ‘grand coalition’ government wielding the axe, and a damaging currency peg – are rich in lessons for workers in Britain and Europe today.

Eagleton’s book can act as a ’refresher course’ and a useful introduction. It is not without its faults and limits, however.

Committee for a workers' International publications

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