Harold Laski

Liberty In The Modern State

Laski Inscription

Sassoon Monogram

Liberty in the Modern State - by Harold J Laski, published in 1930 by Harper & Brothers, New York and London. This is a nice association copy of Laski’s book, dedicated to Siegfried Sassoon, dated, 30.4.30, and carrying the dispersal label confirming it was from Sassoon’s own library.

Harold Joseph Laski (30 June 1893 – 24 March 1950) was a British political theorist, economist, author, and lecturer. He was active in politics and served as the chairman of the British Labour Party during 1945–1946, and was a professor at the London School of Economics from 1926 to 1950. After 1930, he shifted to a Marxist emphasis on class conflict and the need for a workers' revolution which angered Labour leaders. Laski's position on democracy came under further attack from Winston Churchill in the 1945 general election, and the Labour party eventually had to disavow Laski, as its chairman.

In 1920 Sassoon embarked on a series of lectures at various institutions in the United States. For a period during this time he had stayed at Harold Laski’s house, who had done a great deal to help and encourage him in America and who was teaching at Harvard University.

While in America Sassoon enjoyed an evening in the company of the American poet Amy Lowell and Laski. Sitting in Lowell’s fine library Sassoon relaxed as he listened to them talk, feeling almost ‘non-existent’ in their presence. ‘They were a remarkably contrasted couple - he, small, boyishly brilliant, provocative in argument and essentially generous and idealistic; she stout and masculine, jocularly downright and dogmatic, smoking a long manila cigar, and completely confident that “Imagism” was the poetry of the future.’

Sassoon wrote in his diary on 1st December 1921, “Being with people of strong vitality (like Laski, who lunched with me yesterday) gives me a sort of restless satisfaction.’

Communism Cover

Communism - Home University Library of Modern Knowledge, Volume 131- by Harold J Laski, published in 1927 by Williams & Norgate Ltd. This copy bears Laski’s full signature which is unusual as he normally only signed with his initials.

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