The First Darwinian Left, Socialism and Darwinism 1859-1914, by David Stack
Published by New Clarion Press in 2003, 152 pages. Paperback (N2882)
Brand New Booklet
This book sets out to demonstrate that nineteenth-century socialists did not use Darwinism as a tool of opportunity, or to give a scientific veneer to a pre-existing politics, but rather developed their thinking out of a ferment of open Darwinian and socialist discourses (many of them were quite often believers of Darwin before they became committed socialists). The book also seeks to undermine recent attempts to use Darwinism as the foundation for a new politics of the left.
As one reviewer of the book wrote: Cutting through the myths, misunderstandings, and neglect that have obscured the influence of Darwinism on radical thought, this detailed account examines the paradoxical challenges that Darwinism posed for late 19th- and early 20th- century socialism. This study shows that Darwin provided British socialists from Alfred Russel Wallace to Emile Vandervelde with a new language of political expression, and that socialist thought developed through interaction with the most advanced biological theories of the day.