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Enemy Within  Amazon Co UK

Francis Beckett, John Murray ISBN 0-8503-6477-9.  9.99 

THIS IS NOT Martin Dillon's most recent pot-boiler on the Provisional IRA but a well-written history of the Communist Party of Great Britain from its foundation in 1920 until its acrimonious dissolution in 1991. The growth of the party was hindered in the 1920s by the necessity to take orders from the Communist International . This resulted in decades of bitter opposition towards the leftist Independent Labour Party which but for Comintern interference could have been a natural ally. The book looks at the careers of the party's leading figures, Harry Pollitt, Willie Gallagher the party's first MP, Bill Rust who established the Daily Worker, the cold hard-line theorist Palme Dutt, the trendy `Eurocommunist' Martin Jacques and Reuben Falber, the conduit of `Moscow gold'. Beckett's book shows the heroism and sacrifice made by many to devote their lives to the struggle. Some went to prison. Others, even Pollitt, could have suffered the fate of so many old Bolsheviks under Stalin had the Comintern apparatchiks been in a position to unleash a terror in Britain. This book give an excellent and very readable history of the party and the factors that led to its decline and dissolution. The real tragedy is that so many good people devoted their lives to such a hollow and worthless cause.

David Kerr

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