Duncan Thompson provides a concise summary of the hitherto neglected history of New Left Review and its political and intellectual development from 1962 to the present. Perry Anderson, Robin Blackburn et al. emerged as the leading figures of a second new left around New Left Review six years after the new left first emerged in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Britain and France's invasion of Suez. Thompson traces NLR's attempts to develop socialist politics, through the 'old' Labour of Harold Wilson, through heady days in 1968, through new Marxist theory, through the Cold War years and into the era of contemporary capitalist globalisation. He surveys the achievements of NLR: a respectable academic reputation has been won, but it has not succeeded in achieving or facilitating the primary goal of the second New Left, that of finding a strategy for transition to socialism.
1. The Two New Lefts: The frustration of the first New Left - The emergence of a 'new' New Left - The Nairn-Anderson Theses - Labourism and Socialism - Wilsonism and the Prospects for 'Structural Reform' - International Perspectives - Contrasting the Two New Lefts; 2. The Moment of 1968: The Return of the Repressed - 'Combat Bourgeols Ideas' - A Revolutionary Politics; 3. Revolutionary Expectations: Considerations on Western Communism - The State and Revolution in the West - Silences and Criticisms - The Two New Lefts, or Edward Thompson and Perry Anderson: reprise; 4. From Rethinking to Retrenchment: A 'Crisis of Marxism'? - The riddle of the Sphinx - Reanchorage - Crisis and Retrenchment; 5. The End of History? The Cold War and the Second World - The Fall in the East - The 'conjuncture of 1989' - The Penalties of Olympianism: Critical Reflections and Concluding Thoughts. Notes, Bibliography, Index.