Post-War Labour: A Lockdown Reading List

By Mike Phipps and Michael Calderbank

Our friends over at LabourList recently published reading recommendations from self-styled “moderate” Luke Akehurst.

We have a few of our own to add – to correct a little of the imbalance.

If you have only time to read two books during the enforced COVID-19 isolation, perhaps the key ones are

Ralph Miliband – Parliamentary Socialism (the classic critique of “Labourism” and its commitment to Parliamentarism)

and this recently published assessment of Miliband’s classic thesis in the light of the experience of Corbynism,

Colin Leys and Leo Panitch – Searching for Socialism: The Project of the Labour New Left from Benn to Corbyn.


However, if you have a little more time on your hands here are some more recommendations:


From Attlee to Wilson 

Ken Coates – The Crisis of British Socialism

Paul Foot – The Politics of Harold Wilson

(and as a telling aside, Ervand Abrahamian on The Coup (in Iran – with Labour’s disastrous support for the anti-democratic coup against the Mossadegh government and support for the Shah).


From Callaghan to Kinnock 

Tony Benn – Diaries 

Hilary Wainwright – Labour: A Tale of Two Parties

Peter Tatchell – The Battle for Bermondsey

Mike Marqusee and Richard Heffernan – Defeat from the Jaws of Victory


The Blair Years

Lewis Minkin – The Blair Supremacy

Liz Davies – Through the Looking Glass

Mark Seddon – Standing for Something

Colin Leys – Market-driven Politics



Alex Nunns – The Candidate

Andrew Murray – The Fall and Rise of the British Left

Mike Phipps (ed) – For the Many..

Mark Perryman (ed) – The Corbyn Effect; Corbynism from Below

Christine Berry and Joe Guinan – People Get Ready

Mark Seddon – Jeremy Corbyn and the Strange Rebirth of Labour England


Of course, politics doesn’t begin and end with the what happens in the Labour Party – we’ll follow up with a list of interesting reading on the issues any socialist politics will need to engage with in the years ahead.

Send us your recommendations?  Tweet them to @LabourHub