This volume provides a brilliant and accessible summation of the ideas of left Marxist giant C.L.R. James. Originally delivered in 1960 as a series of lectures in his native Trinidad, these writings powerfully display his wide-ranging erudition and enduring relevance. From his analysis of revolutionary history (from the Athenian City-States through the English Revolution, Russian Revolution, and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956), to the role of literature, art, and culture in society (from Charlie Chaplin to Pablo Picasso, via Camus and Eisenstein), to an interrogation of the ideas and philosophy of such thinkers as Rousseau, Lenin, and Trotsky, this is a magnificent tour de force from a critically engaged thinker at the height of his powers. An essential introduction to a body of work as necessary and illuminating for this century as it proved for the last.


In the West Indies C.L.R. JAMES is honored as one of the fathers of independence. In Britain he is feted as a historic pioneer of the black movement. He is generally regarded as one of the major figures in Pan-Africanism, and a leader in developing a current within Marxism that was democratic, revolutionary, and internationalist. His long life and impressive career played out in Trinidad, England, and America. For the last years of his life, he lived in south London and lectured widely on politics, Shakespeare, and other topics. He died there in 1989.