A Beginner’s Manual for Apprentice Book Burners


1946-Today, Bibliographic, James L. Walker / Monday, August 26th, 2019
James J. Martin produced the most important works on the history of individualist anarchism, including Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism in America, 1827–1908. Through his Libertarian Broadsides (1967) series he brought important individualist anarchist writings back into print in inexpensive pamphlet editions, often for the first time in decades. He was the editor of the Libertarian Book Club editions of Paul Elzbacher’s Anarchism (1964) and Max Stirner’s The Ego and His Own (1963). He is one of our Archivists. His other published works include American Liberalism and World Politics, 1931–1941 (1964); Men Against the State (first published in 1953 and republished in 1957); and Meditations on the Early Wisdom of John Foster Dulles (1958). Dr. Martin was born in St. Leonard, New Brunswick on September 18, 1916. He received his bachelor of arts degree in history at the University of New Hampshire in 1942, his master of arts degree (1945), and doctor of philosophy (1949) in history, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and has won many honors in the course of his career.

A Beginner’s Manual for Apprentice Book Burners

by James J. Martin

A preliminary reading list of books dealing with minority opinions, unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints, and other unpleasant subjects, as well as a number of unusual topics and out-of-the-ordinary interpretations in several fields of learning, with some aggravating standard works which have survived decades of smearing included here and there.

An Inadequate Preface

HISTORY is a science of reasoning based solely on evidence consisting of documents, to which critical intelligence has been applied. Without documents there can be no detailed grasp of the past, and anything written without a foundation on documents cannot properly be called history. Factual evidence based on documents is acquired and observed under conditions where a variable area of the unknown is an ingredient. Therefore, the historical method must combine the knowledge of the particular conditions under which the facts of the past incident in question occurred with an understanding of the general conditions under which the facts of humanity occur. There has yet to be a study of any human society by anybody who escaped his biases, no matter how he struggled to attain impartiality. Any writer of history, especially, must face the fact that he can not evade the cultural and social determinants of his theories, ideas, religion, nationality, social and economic position, and his various conscious and unconscious affinities with assorted individuals and classes, as well as the powerful influences emanating from his own historical environment. At all times there is a constant deviation ranging from conscious distortion on one hand to unconscious distortion on the other, which latter often occurs at the very time when the writer feels most impartial of all. There has yet to appear a satisfactory remedy for this state of affairs. In other words, we all still write within the confines of some “frame of reference.” Those who write in the related “social science” fields are certainly no exceptions to the above observations; bias and distortion in the productions of economists, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists and anthropologists compare quite favorably with that of which the historians are guilty. Consequently, it behooves students to approach with great caution works which make obvious claims to impartiality and “objectivity.” There are serious doubts as to the applicability of such terminology. One must beware of the label “objective” in particular; the prevailing tendency is to apply this “approval” word to viewpoints which are mainly the consensus of the most generally held conventional attitudes and sentiments. This is one of the most widely prevalent semantic diseases afflicting the people who live in our time, and the temptation to engage in this practice is almost irresistible. It further accounts, in part, for the sharp decline in discussion and debate upon, and the panic-stricken avoidance of, anything which gets tagged “controversial.” Nothing could be more deplorable in a society which makes such protestations of being open and “free.” One remedy for “objectiv-itis,” admittedly imperfect, consists of reading the literature of the unorthodox or unpopular viewpoint on as many subjects as possible, instead of consuming the titles of books and the opinions of those who have read them. It is one of the few avenues leading to the development of an intelligent critical facility. In the process, one must not be dissuaded by threats of becoming “biased,” or exhortations not to become a “de-bunker.” That “debunking” is unpopular and “de-bunkers” are shunned is simply testimony to the existence of an immense appetite and audience for “bunk.” Once we sink to the position where reverence for some official version inhibits further investigation and revision of the account of any area of the human past, history and the social studies will have attained the level now occupied by astrology. This list is an experimental effort, and is intended for students of history and the allied social studies, in the hope of modifying in some degree the tendencies toward smugness and condescension which are partially acquired from extended contact with the academic approach. It is quite possible that a thousand such lists could be prepared, all of them superior to this one. The only significance this one possesses is that the books contained in it are drawn from my own reading experiences.

Partly for the Bibliographical Record:

Do you think that “book-burning” in either its figurative or literal sense was invented by persons outside “the Anglo-Saxon tradition,” which is usually portrayed as one of tolerance and respect for civil rights? Have you the impression that people in this country have behaved fundamentally differently from those of other lands during periods of stress, panic and crisis, in matters dealing with unpopular thinking, or spoken or written unorthodoxy? On the contrary, the following titles are a small sample of the enormous literature dealing with suppression, censorship, destruction and other forms of violence and interference with freedom of expression in England and the United States, starting as far back as the 17th century.

  • Gillett, Charles Ripley. Burned Books: Neglected Chapters in British History and Literature. 2 vols. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1932. The author was librarian emeritus of Union Theological Seminary. 723 pages total, of inestimable value to students of the free speech struggle, especially in matters of religious conviction.
  • Haight, Anne Lyon. Banned Books: Informal Notes on Some Books Banned for Various Reasons at Various Times and in Various Places. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1935.
  • Schroeder, Theodore. Free Speech Bibliography. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1922.
  • Rosenthal, Clarice A., Meeker, M., Ottenberg, M., and Others. Selected Bibliography on Civil Liberties in the United States. New York: American Civil Liberties Union, 1937. First published December 1937. There is a mimeographed supplement to this which was issued under ACLU auspices dated June 1939.
  • Seldes, George. You Can’t Print That! New York: Harcourt, 1929.
  • ——————–. Freedom of the Press. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1935.
  • ——————–. You Can’t Do That. New York: Modern Age Books, 1938.
  • ——————–. Tell The Truth and Run. New York: Greenberg, 1953.
  • Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953.

Have you been doped with “adjustment” psychology and psychiatric theory? Do you think that all non-conformists and alleged “neurotic” and “maladjusted” folk need to be brought to “normal” patterns of behaving? Read the volume below: the author has some different ideas. In this connection as well, consult David Karp’s One, mentioned below.

  • Lindner, Robert. Prescription for Rebellion. New York: Rinehart, 1952.

Are you under the influence of the school of thought that conceives technology as a one way street to unlimited opulence and ease. Do you think there is no dark side to machine age gadgetry? Are you under the illusion that continual technological revolution is producing no crisis in the economic and social value systems we take for granted as originating from on high? Maybe Wiener and Juenger will alter your optimism. Finish up with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s novel Player Piano. New York: Scribners, 1953.

  • Wiener, Norbert. Cybernetics. New York John Wiley, 1947.
  • ——————–.The Human Use of Human Beings. New York: John Wiley, 1951.
  • Juenger, Friedrich Georg. The Failure of Technology: Perfection Without Purpose. Chicago: Regnery, 1949.

Are you sure there is no case against humanitarianism, humility, meekness, benevolence and allied values? Read Redbeard: those who adhere to the Sermon on the Mount or the Golden Rule should be among the first to want this volume burned.

  • Redbeard, Ragnar. Might is Right. London: W.J. Robbins, 1910, Chicago: Dill Pickle Press, 1927.

Do you know anything about anthropology? Here are three most engaging and controversial books, in that area. White and Dorsey ought to get you mad and keep you that way for awhile. Day is in a class all by himself in the readability department.

  • Dorsey, George. Man’s Own Show: Civilization. New York: Harper, 1931.
  • White, Leslie A. The Science of Culture New York: Farrar and Straus, 1949.
  • Day, Clarence. This Simian World. New York: Knopf, 1936.

Two classic criticisms of the structure and value system of the American Way of Life. You will not find either distributed at the luncheons of “service” organizations in your town.

  • Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class. Several editions. Modern Library (1934) and another pocket book edition (1953) among several since 1899.
  • Mills, C. Wright. White Collar: The American Middle Classes. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1951.

Do you think all the English pull their punches like Churchill when needling the U.S.A.? Mr. Wayman’s blast is an example of what we rarely ever see here.

  • Wayman, Leonard. Moonshine America. London: Golden Galley Press, 1948.

As a counterweight, for Anglophiles and assorted lovers of our British “betters,” try swallowing Robert Briffault’s The Decline and Fall of the British Empire. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1938. Orators usually maintain a deep silence concerning much of the content of the following tides on February 12. No “objective” Lincoln student should be caught with any of them around the house in any spot except in the fireplace.

  • Horton, Rushmore G. A Youth’s History of the Great Civil War. Rev. ed., Dallas: Southern Publishing Co., 1925.
  • Minor, Charles L.C. The Real Lincoln: From the Testimony of his Contemporaries. 4th edition, Gastonia, N.C.: Atkins-Rankin Co., 1928.
  • Manigault, G. The United States Unmasked. London: Edward Stanford, 1879. This one was so bitter toward the Union that he couldn’t get a publisher in the U.S.A.
  • Coggins, James C. Abraham Lincoln, A North Carolinian. Asheville, N.C.: Advocate Pub. Co., 1925; 2nd edition, Atkins-Rankin Co. (Gastonia), 1928.

Has everybody succumbed to industrialism and urbanism? There is no longer the possibility of stating the case of pre-Civil War Southern-style agrarianism? Wait until you examine the next tide, about the most bothersome reappearance of this argument in the 20th century. Every good book bonfire should have one.

  • Twelve Southerners. I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition. New York: Harper, 1930.

Did it ever dawn on you that our ancestors were often subject to the same failings and sins we deplore about us today? The following volumes are part of a large literature telling us of their “this-worldly interests.”

  • Washburn, R.C. Prayer for Profit. New York: Sears, 1930.
  • Sakolski, Aaron. The Great American Land Bubble. New York: Harper, 1932.
  • Loth, David. Public Plunder: A History of Graft in America. New York: Carrick and Evans, 1936.

Herbert Asbury discusses their drinking habits with great charm in The Great Illusion (New York: Doubleday, 1950). You might also read Asbury’s great short story “Hatrack,” which appeared first in the April, 1926 American Mercury, and was reprinted in the November, 1950 issue of the same journal. It was suppressed the first time it came out and the Mercury temporarily lost its mailing privilege, because of it. Have you read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four? You might profit from another reading. then follow it with the Pohl-Kornbluth and Karp entries below; all three are in the best tradition of top rate modern science fiction.

  • Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949; New York: Harcourt, 1949. Also a pocket book paperback issue.
  • Pohl, Frederik, and Kornbluth, C.M. The Space Merchants. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953.
  • Karp, David. One. New York: Vanguard, 1953.

Are you an advocate of the Toynbee approach to the philosophy of history? The two books below are a most unpleasant counter-agent.

  • Spengler, Oswald. The Decline of the West. One volume edition, New York: Knopf, 1937.
  • Adams, Brooks. The Law of Civilization and Decay. New edition, New York: Knopf, 1943.

The following title should be read in conjunction with Gulliver’s Travels, and is easily the most clever satirical political writing since the forma appeared.

  • Orwell, George. Animal Farrn. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949; other editions elsewhere and earlier.

The shady side of the American business system is a topic of interest only to communist authors? Its weaknesses all myths dreamed up by the gremlins in the Kremlin? Here is a brief but potent sample to contradict this; there is a vast list of others of this kind. It could be supplemented with E.H. Sutherland, White Collar Crime. New York: Dryden Press, 1948.

  • Flynn, John T. Graft in Business. New York: Vanguard, 1931. Security Speculation. New York: Harcourt, 1934.
  • Ernst, Morris. Too Big. Boston: Little, Brown, 1940.
  • Quinn, Theodore K. Giant Business: Threat to Democracy; The Autobiography of an Insider. New York: Exposition Press, 1953.

Radicals are all saints? Or are they all monsters? Nomad’s two books are immensely readable and take up both these stands in a manna that deserves some extra attention.

  • Nomad, Max. Rebels and Renegades. New York: Macmillan, 1932.
  • ————–. Apostles of Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown, 1939.

Do you think all scientists are laboratory-bound, unimaginative souls who know nothing outside the world of test-tubes? Zinsser ought to demolish that notion. You could also try the “medical biographies” by the physician Charles Maclaurin, Post Mortem and Mere Mortals(New York: Doran, 1923, 1925).

  • Zinsser, Hans. Rats, Lice and History. Boston: Little, Brown, 1935. Some pocket book editions.

A memorable piece of fictional writing dealing with the struggle of simple people against reaction:

  • Silone, Ignazio. Fontarnara. New York: Harrison Smith, 1934; another edition, Modern Age, 1938.

Two books about the Far East which lack the condescending missionary tone:

  • Patric, John. Yankee Hobo in the Orient. 7th ed., Frying Pan Creek, Oregon: John Patric, 1945.
  • Michener, James. The Voice of Asia. New York: Random House, 1951.

Lose your religious friends rapidly by quoting portions of these books to them:

  • Robertson, John Mackinnon. The Jesus Myth; Pagan Christs.
  • McCabe, Joseph. The Story of Religious Controversy. Boston: Stratford, 1929.
  • Mencken, Henry L. Treatise on the Gods. New York: Knopf, 1930.
  • Blanshard, Paul. American Freedom and Catholic Power. Boston: Beacon, 1950.
  • Foote, G.W., and Ball, W.P. The Bible Handbook. 10th ed., London: The Pioneer Press, 1953.
  • Doane, Thomas W. Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions. New York: J.W. Bouton, 1883.

Did you ever wonder what motivated people to believe in an join mass movements? Are totalitarian shirts interchangeable? Hoffer is unique in the theory department; you might follow it up by checking up on any number of re-tread believers; Valtin is one of the most typical.

  • Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. New York: Harper, 1951.
  • Valtin, Jan. Out of the Night. New York: Alliance, 1941.

Five wonderful books by George Orwell of varied controversial nature; study modern writing style from a master.

  • Orwell, George. Down and Out in Paris and London. New York: Harper, 1933; several other editions.
  • —————-. Homage to Catalonia. London: Secker & Warburg, 1938; New York: Harcourt, 1952.
  • —————-. Coming up for Air. London: Gollancz, 1939; Secker 8c Warburg, 1945; elsewhere as well.
  • —————-. Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays. New York: Harcourt, 1950.
  • —————-. Dickens, Dali and Other Essays. New York: Reynal, 1946.

Would you like to be called a reactionary by your friends in professional education? Tell them you read these:

  • Smith, Mortimer. And Madly Teach. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1949.
  • Lynd, Robert. Quackery in the Public Schools. Boston: Little, Brown, 1953.
  • Restor, Arthur E., Jr. Educational Wastelands: The Retreat From Learning in our Public Schools. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1953.
  • Smith, Mortimer. The Diminished Mind: A Study of Planned Mediocrity in Our Public Schools. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1954.

My three favorite autobiographies:

  • Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1918; other editions.
  • Goldman, Emma. Living My Life. One volume edition; New York: Knopf, 1934.
  • Nock, Albert Jay. Memoirs of a Superfluous Man. New York: Harper, 1943.

For those who think capital punishment is the ultimate in criminology, and for the simple folk who have equated the courts, the law, the judges and the lawyers with justice:

  • Duff, Charles. A Handbook of Hanging. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1928, 1938, 1954.
  • Kropotkin, Peter. Organized Vengeance Called Justice. London: Freedom Press has released several editions and printings since it first appeared in 1902.
  • Rodell, Fred. Woe Unto You Lawyers! New York: Reynal, 1939.

Two of the most irritating books ever written by Henry L. Mencken, a great controversialist:

  • Mencken, Henry L. In Defense of Women. New York: Knopf, 1922; Garden City, 1931.
  • ——————–. Notes on Democracy. New York: Knopf, 1926.

Conscientious objectors to war make good hate subjects. What do you know of their side of the story? The next two items are just a fragment of a copious literature:

  • Cantine, Holley, and Rainer, Dachine. Prison Etiquette. Bearsville, New York: Retort Press, 1950.
  • Naeve, Lowell. Fields of Broken Stones. (In collaboration with David Wieck.) Glen Gardner, New Jersey: Libertarian Press, 1950.
  • Hennacy, Ammon. Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist. New York: The Catholic Worker, 1954.

A most interesting psychological study of our “blood and guts” best-sellers and comic books, and some remarks on the persons who manufacture them. A much-frowned-upon book, and one that is not going to be obtained without considerable effort:

  • Legman, G. Love and Death. New York: Privately printed, 1949.

Two good books for students of American History, quite different in subject and structure, one long established, the other not too well known, and both worth burning:

  • Beard, Charles A. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution. Various editions and printings since 1913; try New York: Macmillan, 1948.
  • Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It. New York: Knopf, 1948.

A much quoted critique of political democracy, USA style, by an “outlander,” deserves a wider audience despite its age:

  • Ostrogorski, M. Democracy and the Party System in the United States. New York: Macmillan, 1910. Other editions.

By now you have probably internationalized the value system of mass culture sufficiently to hate all the following authors:

  • Hello, Ernest. The Mediocre Man.
  • Faguet, Emile. The Cult of Incompetence (Beatrice Barstow, trans.). New York: Dutton, 1912.
  • Ortega y Gasset, Jose. The Revolt of the Masses. New York: Norton, 1932; also Pocket Books, 1950.
  • Campbell, Francis Stuart. The Menace of the Herd. Milwaukee: Sheed and Ward, 1943.

A most absorbing introduction to the IWW, if you have never heard of them or in case you have already acquired someone else’s prejudices toward them:

  • Chaplin, Ralph. Wobbly. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948.

No doubt the name “Machiavelli,” if it means anything to you, has acquired a connotation of sinister and evil things; the emotional engineering aimed at producing this effect must have succeeded by now. Why not take a crack at him anyway; then try Bumham’s book and then the primary items of the men he mentions. The total equals a first rate political education.

  • Machiavelli, Nicolo. The Prince. Several editions; a recent Pocket Book edition.
  • Burnham, James. The Machiovellians: Defenders of Freedom. New York: John Day, 1943.
  • Michels, Robert. Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies in Modern Democracy. New York: Hearst International Press, 1915; Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1949.
  • de Grazia, Alfred (editor & translator). Roberto Michels’ First Lectures in Political Sociology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1949.
  • Sorel, Georges. Reflections on Violence. Several editions; latest: Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1949.
  • Mosca, Gaetano. The Ruling Classes. New York: McGraw Hill, 1939.
  • Pareto, Vilfredo. The Mind and Society (Arthur Livingston, translator). 4 vols. New York: Harcourt, 1935. Try vols. 1 and 2; the whole set is an immense task.

It is customary to deprecate the “amateur” trying his hand in any field; the “scientific” economists are especially adept at this strategem. But there is no field of learning in which there is such a lack of an accepted body of truth, such an absence of consensus of authority, or of persons who can be mentioned without question as to their reliability, as economics. Despite the smears, some of the “amateurs” have done worthy work. One of the most substantial is George; follow it up with Bilgram and Levy. They are unorthodox but hard to squelch: George, Henry. Progress and Poverty. Several editions since 1879; a current one sponsored by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, New York City. Bilgram, Hugo, and Levy, L.E. The Cause of Business Depressions. Philadelphia: Lipincott, 1914. One of the most vaguely treated matters in political theory is the origin of the institution called the “state.” Try the four below for another approach in the contemporary “great debate” on the subject, which manages to stay five light years away from the issues:

  • Nock, Albert Jay. Our Enemy the State. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1946. (Re-edition.)
  • Oppenheimer, Franz. The State. New York: Vanguard, 1928. Other editions and publishers.
  • Bakunin, Michael. God and the State. Several editions since 1881; a recent one by Modern Publishers, Indore, India, 1946.
  • Bourne, Randolph. The State. To be found in several places; an excellent pamphlet edition by Resistance Press, New York City, 1946-1947.

In playing the modern game of politics, one should pay careful attention to the revisions in the rules, which have been especially streamlined since totalitarian faiths have perfected their advertising departments. It is now customary for all fervid political believers to refuse to credit rival believers with even the most elementary traits of honesty; all contrary ideologies are always sinister and mendacious, and of course this stigma carries over to those expounding same. In training for posts as book-burners, with a specialty in ideological material, it is becoming very difficult to acquire competence without a knowledge of just what should be burned, and exactly why. This crisis, accordingly, is forcing us back to a most “reactionary” position: we are being pressed to the edge of the precipice, so to speak, and forced, in our desperation, to try to understand what each evil and loathsome doctrine is by reading the explanation of it emanating from the group that propounds it. This, of course, is a most startling and vicious recommendation. It undermines our growing dependence on slick manuals prepared by various ideologues who pretend unsurpassed “objectivity” and fairness exceeding all comprehension, and who succeed in palming off Procrustean summaries of all the “Isms” except the particular swamp root they imbibe. And of course it veritably undermines the American Way by questioning the validity of subscribing to a newspaper or journal, and taking one’s definitions as prepared, canned at the editor’s table. Surely it is a grave breach of intellectual etiquette to suggest that one cannot get a careful explanation of Communism in the Chicago TribuneThe New Leader, the American Mercury and Time, nor a suitable definition of Fascism in The New RepublicThe NationHarper’s and the Daily Worker. But let us dally a bit, and in a fit of sheer romantic delusion, indulge in such preposterous presumptions as alluded to above. In the mixed category below, a pretty fair presentation of the Fascist outlook is that of Palmieri. For National Socialism, which is not the same, one should read Hitler and find out what he actually had to say. Then follow up with a critic of the unhysterical sort; Rauschning is representative. Did you absorb the William L. Shirer -type hysteria? Was there nothing to National Socialism to attract such vast support? Read Kneller. the sources of the opposition can be explored in Rothfels, especially. (Excellent stuff of source type are the von HassellDiaries and Hans Gisevius, To the Bitter End [Boston, 1947].) If you have gotten Karl Marx at second hand all your life, it is time to read him and try to make sense out of Marxism yourself for a change. You could consult some of the other principal prophets of Communism as well; they write with considerable more clarity than Marx. The best bibliographies of books on Soviet Russia have not appeared in the Readers’ Digest or the Daily Worker; the spring issue, 1948, of the now defunct magazine Politics and the fall, 1953 issue of the Anvil and Student Partisan combined are pretty formidable. Rosenberg’s history is one of the best:

  • Palmieri, Mario. The Philosophy of Fascism. Chicago: Dante Alighieri Society, 1936.
  • Hitler, Adolph.Mein Kampf (My Battle). Many editions; try New York: Houghton, 1939.
  • Rauschning, Herman. The Revolution of Nihilism: Warning to the West. New York: Longmans, 1939.
  • Rauschning, Herman. Voice of Destruction: Hitler Speaks. London: Butterworth, 1939. New York: Putnam, (1940).
  • Kneller, George F. The Educational Philosophy of National Socialism. New Haven: Yale, 1941.
  • Rothfels, Hans. The German Opposition to Hitler. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1948.
  • Marx, Karl. The Manifesto of the Communist Party. New York: International Publishers, 1937.
  • Marx, Karl. Capital. New York: Charles H. Kerr Co., 1906; also a Modern Library edition.
  • Lenin, V.I. What Is To Be Done? Vol. 4 of Selected Works. New York: International Publishers, 1929.
  • Werner, M.R. Stalin’s Kampf. (Selection of Stalin’s writings.) New York: Howell, Soskin, 1940.
  • Trotsky, Leon. The Revolution Betrayed. New York: Doubleday, 1937.
  • Rosenberg, Arthur. A History of Bolshevism from Marx to the Five Year Plan. New York: Oxford, 1935.

It has become unfashionable to study anarchism, “the conscience of the left.” Even the left and the liberals prefer to ignore it as they devote themselves to more “practical” faiths. Here is a stripped-down list of “musts” for the understanding of the various theories; it should be preceded by a reading of Kropotkin’s article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The bibliography of anarchist writings runs to at least ten thousand entries.

(Anarchism) In Europe:

  • Proudhon, P.J. System of Economical Contradictions, or the Philosophy of Misery. Boston: Tucker, 1888.
  • Proudhon, P.J. What is Property? (B. R. Tucker, translator.) New York: Humboldt Pub. Co., no date.
  • Proudhon, P.J. General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century. (J.B. Robinson, translator.) London: Freedom Press, 1923.
  • Maximov, G. P., translator. Political Philosophy of Bakunin. Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1953.
  • Kropotkin, Peter. Fields, Factories and Workshops. Various editions; New York: Putnam, 1913.
  • Kropotkin, Peter. Mutual Aid as a Factor in Evolution. Various editions; New York: Knopf, 1917.
  • Kropotkin, Peter. Conquest of Bread. New York: Vanguard, 1926. Other editions.
  • Stirner, Max (S.T. Byington, translator). The Ego and His Own. New York: B.R. Tucker, 1907.

(Anarchism) In the United States:

  • Berkman, Alexander. The ABC’s of Anarchism. London: Freedom Press, current edition; others.
  • Goldman, Emma. Anarchism and Other Essays. New York: Mother Earth Publishing Assoc., 1917.
  • Andrews, Stephen Pearl. The Science of Society (2 parts). New York: Fowler and Wells, 1851, 2,3,4. Other editions at various times and places, last one known in USA, 1888; only current edition available in India, Bombay: Free Economic Review, Arya Bhavan, Sandhurst road, Bombay 4.
  • Warren, Josiah. True Civilization. Princeton, Mass., 1875. Several other previous editions, above last known in this country, under auspices of E.H. Heywood.
  • Tucker, Benjamin R. Instead of a Book, by a Man Too Busy to Write One. New York: B.R. Tucker, 1893.
  • Walker, James L. The Philosophy of Egoism. Denver: Katharine L. Walker, 1905. (The USA Stirner.)

While on the subject of political Marxism, if you liked the Crossman edition The God That Failed you could try Talmadge. If you still have illusions about the Worker’s Fatherland try Gordon and Berneri. A wonderful example of how an American came to embrace Stalinism is Freeman; a superlative one on how an American got disenchanted, in a period when it was not “smart” to be an “ex-Red,” is Fred Beal. Some good criticism in Parkes.

  • Talmadge, Irving (ed.). Whose Revolution? New York: Howell, Soskin, 1941.
  • Gordon, Manya. Workers Before and After Lenin. New York: Dutton, 1941.
  • Berneri, Marie Louise. Workers in Stalin’s Russia. London: Freedom Press, several printings.
  • Freeman, Joseph. An American Testament. New York: Farrar, 1936.
  • Beal, Fred. Proletarian Journey. New York: Hillman, Curl, 1937.
  • Parkes, Henry Bamford. Marxism: An Autopsy. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1939.

Two books on the scene of world-wide scale for the past 25 years. Tough and most readable. Folks with the “objective”-type prejudices and biases have been fervently denouncing these two authors and their books for a decade or more; try reading them instead of joining the howling pack for a change.

  • Burnham, James. The Managerial Revolution. New York: John Day, 1941.
  • Dennis, Lawrence. The Dynamics of War and Revolution. New York: Weekly Foreign Letter, 1940. (Note: Dennis’ earlier books, Is Capitalism Doomed? [193y and The Coming American Fascism [1936] still have plenty of material which is most pertinent in examining current world trends; all of his books were greeted with rave reviews, but his fair-minded “objective” enemies long ago smeared him as a “lunatic” and “crackpot.”)

This one started Senator McCarthy on his way to the political shooting gallery; attacking political generals has always been risky business. How this got published will probably forever mystify General Marshall’s adoring circle. A real burnable item for the future.

  • McCarthy, Joseph R. (Senator). America’s Retreat from Victory: The Story of George Catlett Marshall. New York: Devin-Adair, 1952.

A great pamphleteer and controversialist, with a writing style few can approach for lucidity. A file of his famous broadsheet Analysis(1944-1951) will one day be the object of wide search. Everything he has written deserves incineration.

  • Chodorov, Frank. The Myth of the Post Office. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1948.
  • One Is A Crowd: Reflections of An Individualist. New York: Devin-Adair, 1952.
  • The Income Tax, Root of All Evil. New York: Devin-Adair, 1953.

For those accustomed to reading canonical accounts of their favorite politicians, the following are recommended as a sample change of diet, calculated to bring grimaces depending upon whose idol is subject to the probe; there are plenty more like these. But I doubt if they will budge the Carlyle tradition of worship of Great Men very much. (As an afterthought, you could also try W.G. Clugston, Rascals in Democracy. (New York: R.R. Smith, 1940.)

  • Seldes, George. Sawdust Caesar (Mussolini). New York: Harper, 1935.
  • Heiden, Konrad. Der Fuehrer (Hitler). New York: Knopf, 1936.
  • Souvarine, Boris. Stalin. New York: Alliance, 1939.
  • Flynn, John T. The Roosevelt Myth. New York: Devin-Adair, 1948.
  • MacDonald, Dwight. Henry Wallace. New York: Vanguard, 1948.
  • Hughes, Emrys. Winston Churchill in War and Peace. Glasgow, Scotland: Unity Pub. Co., 1950. USA revised edition coming; New York: Exposition Press, 1955.
  • Neilson, Francis. The Churchill Legend. Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson Pub. Co., 1954.

A brief selection of disturbing literature for militarists, lovers of war and uncritical exponents of the virtuousness of violence; Owen and Trumbo are included specially for those who thought Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front was depressing.

  • Olday, John. The March to Death. London: Freedom Press, 1943.
  • Hamlin, C.H. The War Myth in the United States. New York: Vanguard, 1927.
  • Butler, Smedley D. War is a Racket. New York: Round Table Press, 1935.
  • Sherwood, Robert. Idiot’s Delight. New York: Scribners, 1937.
  • Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1939.
  • Owen, Walter. The Cross of Carl: An Allegory. Boston: Little, Brown, 1931. Seldes, George. Iron, Blood and Profits. New York: Harper, 1934.
  • Engelbrecht, H.C., and Hanighen, Frank. Merchants of Death. New York: Dodd, 1934.
  • Huie, William Bradford. The Execution of Private Slovik. New York: Signet Pocket Books, 1954.
  • Hasek, Jaroslav. The Good Soldier Schweik. Several editions.
  • Hirschfeld, Magnus. The Sexual History of the World War. New York: Cadillac Publishing Co., 1941.

A symposium of literature dealing with the origins of the two world wars and their consequences. This is the most important issue in the world today, and completely blots out the domestic problem and quarrels of our day as far as urgency is concerned. There is a prodigious official apologia already established which controls the source of most attitudes the great majority hold right now. The books listed below are offered as counterweights to the official “line” on these matters. Reading them may “unbalance” you and make you “prejudiced” and “biased.”

For the propaganda of the first war, and the part played by diplomats, historians, clergymen, businessmen (see titles 7 and 8, above) and others in “selling” us on the whole affair, they may adjust a few of your fixations, especially those dealing with the alleged innocence of the Russo-Franco-Anglo-American Allies, since you are no doubt sure that the side that lost was the haven of the sinners. Try Keynes if you think the peace treaty had nothing to do with the next war.

  • Neilson, Francis. How Diplomats Make War. New York: Viking, 1916.
  • Barnes, Harry Elmer. In Quest of Truth and Justice. Chicago: Nat. Hist. Society, 1929.
  • Barnes, Harry Elmer. The Genesis of the World War. third edition. New York: Knopf, 1929.
  • Grattan, C. Hartley. “The Historians Cut Loose,” American Mercury, August, 1927; also in above.
  • Peterson, H.C. Propaganda for War. Norman, Okla.: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1939.
  • Viereck, George Sylvester. Spreading Germs of Hate. New York: Liveright, 1930.
  • Ponsonby, Arthur. Falsehood in Wartime. New York: Dutton, 1929.
  • Abrams, Ray Hamilton. Preachers Present Arms. New York: Round Table Press, 1933.
  • Keynes, John Maynard. The Economic Consequences of the Peace. New York: Harcourt, 1920.

A wonderful antidote for those who have become mesmerized by modern pin-up diplomats and the conduct of international policy with brass band and loud speaker accompaniment:

  • Huddleston, Sisley. Popular Diplomacy and War. West Rindge, N.H.: Richard R. Smith Publisher, Inc., 1954.

Of course, the “objective” histories of what happened during the Russian and Spanish revolutions are in, but the following constitute part of the case of the non-Communist but libertarian left factions, which are usually carefully steered past, due to the embarrassing questions they pose.

  • Richards, Vernon. Lessons of the Spanish Revolution. London: Freedom Press, 1953.
  • Voline, V.M. Eichenbaum. Nineteen Seventeen: The Russian Revolution Betrayed. New York: Libertarian Book Club, 1954.

On the world event of 1933-47 your opinions were probably frozen into their current shape by the accounts of the virgin purity of the intentions and actions of the winners and the necessity and wisdom of everything done by them. Here are a few burnable items for the dissenting side. Hitler and Mussolini and the Japs did it all, and the allies were blameless once more? Stalin, the FDR administration and Churchill’s lads were innocent of other intents than sponsoring the cause of world virtue? Give the following a serious consideration; they can’t all be brushed off.

  • Neilson, Francis. The Makers of War. Appleton, Wisc.: C.C. Nelson Pub. Co., 1950.
  • Sargent, Porter. Getting US Into War. Boston: Porter Sargent, 1941.
  • Barnes, Harry Elmer. The Struggle Against the Historical Blackout. Ninth edition, n.p., 1951.
  • Morgenstern, George. Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War. New York: Devin-Adair, 1947.
  • Theobald, Adm. Robert A. The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor. New York: Devin-Adair, 1954.
  • Current, Richard N. Secretary Stimson: A Study in Statecraft. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1954.
  • Sanborn, Frederic R. Design for War. New York: Devin-Adair, 1951.
  • Chamberlin, William H. America’s Second Crusade. Chicago: Regnery, 1950.
  • Tansill, Charles C. Back Door to War. Chicago: Regnery, 1952.

Bonus if you can find it. this item below was banned in this country: a blueprint for what later was done:

  • Rogerson, Sidney. Propaganda For the Next War. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1938. (Note: Charles A. Beard’s President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 is an obvious candidate for the burning bin in this department; the original attention it received inclined me to omit it from this less well-known group.)

Some footnotes on the domestic scene during the war, the Pacific Coast Japanese got a fair shake? The administration’s sedition trial was smart? We had no victims of political persecution and developed no totalitarian trends ourselves? Check these:

  • Renne, Louis Obed. Our Day of Empire. Glasgow, Scotland: The Strickland Press, 1954.
  • Grodzins, Morton. Americans Betrayed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1949.
  • Dennis, Lawrence, and St. George, Maximilian. A Trial on Trial. New York: National Civil Rights Committee, 1945.
  • Viereck, George Sylvester. Men Into Beasts. New York: Gold Medal Pocket Books, 1952.
  • Flynn, John T. As We Go Marching. New York: Doubleday, 1944.

The conduct of the war and the postwar settlement are monoliths of rectitude? The German and Japanese war criminals (i.e., the losers) were dealt with fairly and the winners were not guilty of doing exactly the same? Go over the following carefully:

  • Reel, A. Frank. The Case of General Yarnashita. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949.
  • Belgion, Montgomery. Victor’s Justice. Chicago: Regnery, 1948.
  • Veale, F.J.P. Advance to Barbarism. London: Thompson & Smith, 1948; enlarged ed., Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1953.
  • Gollancz, Victor. In Darkest Gerrnany. Chicago: Regnery, 1946.
  • Gollancz, Victor. Our Threatened Values. Chicago: Regnery, 1948.
  • Utley, Freda. The High Cost of Vengeance. Chicago: Regnery, 1949.
  • Hankey, Lord. Politics, Trials and Errors. Chicago: Regnery, 1950.
  • Grenfell, Russell. Unconditional Hatred. New York: Devin-Adair, 1953.
  • Wormser, Rene. The Myth of the Good and Bad Nations. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1954.

A couple of pointed productions sure to induce a few cases of apoplexy:

  • Barnes, Harry Elmer. The Chickens of the Interventionist Liberals Have Come Home to Roost: The Bitter Fruits of Globaloney. Chicago: Renaissance Book Club, 1953.
  • Barnes, Harry Elmer (editor). Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1953.

Who started the fighting in Korea, anyway? If you don’t like “revisionism” when applied to the World Wars due to ideological fixations, maybe you would like this variety; this is the North Korean-Chinese-Russian case:

  • Stone, I.F. The Hidden History of the Korean War. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1952.
  • Marzani, Carl. We Can Be Friends: Origins of the Cold War. New York: Topical Book Pub., 1952.

As a semantic aid in understanding the many ways the words you have been reading can be twisted, we can wind up our Manual with a fitting “nightcap”:

  • Bierce, Ambrose. The Devil’s Dictionary. Several editions; perhaps you could try New York: World Books, 1948.
  • Nomad, Max. The Skeptic’s Political Dictionary. New York: American Book Co., 1953.