This is a proof copy of 'Red Star Over China, published by the Left Book Club, not for sale to the public. Published in 1937 and written by Edgar Snow, it is an account of the Communist Party of China written when they were a guerrilla army still obscure to Westerners.
Along with Pearl Buck's The Good Earth (1931), it was the most influential book on Western understanding and sympathy for Red China in the 1930s.
Our copy has with it leaflets and propaganda from the Left Book Club from the late 1930's.
The Left Book Club was a publishing group that exerted a strong far-left influence in Great Britain from 1936 to 1948.
Historian Michael Newman says:
Between 1936 and 1939, the LBC and provided hope for thousands of people who were seeking a solution to the burning moral issues of the era. Despite its pro-Communist line, the Club's socialist propaganda and education probably ultimately strengthen the Labor Party and contributed to its victory in the postwar election.
Pioneered by Victor Gollancz, it offered a monthly book choice, for sale to members only, as well as a newsletter that acquired the status of a major political magazine. It also held an annual rally. Membership peaked at 57,000, but after the Soviet-Nazi non-aggression pact of 1939, it disowned its large Communist element, and years of paper-rationing led to further decline. It ceased publishing in 1948.
Inside the book is a letter dated, 21st October 1943, Jerusalem. Addressed to 'Wolfson.' After careful research that this letter is to Sir Isaac Wolfson, 1st Baronet FRS who was a Scottish businessman and philanthropist. He was managing director of Great Universal Stores (G.U.S. or Gussies) 1932–1947 and chairman 1947–1987. He established the Wolfson Foundation to distribute most of his fortune to good causes. Wolfson was a devout orthodox Jew. He followed the example of his father and the middle-European community from which he came. He is quoted as having said, "No man should have more than £100,000. The rest should go to charity". He gave immense amounts to charities.
The letter is from Trevor Powell, who, we believe was a writer/journalist/politician(??) at the time with an interest in Communist China in 1930-40. Wolfson must have sent the proof copy for Powell to go through and edit and add to. Which is what he does during the letter. He also apologises for its delayed response.
This is a fascinating piece of history from WWII, and from the history of leftist politics. Especially due to the hand written note from Powell cautiously predicting the U.S.A enter WWII.