BOOK REVIEW – Shed no tears for the defeated, by William Hunt-Vincent


This is a first and last novel by CPGB-ML member William (Billy) Hunt-Vincent who passed away in November having suffered ill health for quite some time. It is an absolute must-read for progressive people, who will enjoy its refreshing originality.

It is original in two ways. The first is that it is a celebration of working class culture written by an author who never abandoned his roots to grasp the benefits of the middle-class way of life open to intellectuals with literary skills. Billie remained a working man to the end, and proud with it.

Secondly, and most importantly, it draws on Billie’s long experience of trade-union struggle to describe some of the rich variety of dirty tricks used by management to defeat workers’ struggles, and to harness even militant and honest working-class leaders to defend bourgeois interests.

It paints a picture of the working class that is very far from romantic, ruthlessly pointing out how its weaknesses readily lead to its defeat. There are some who might consider it pessimistic, but the real message is to learn to recognise and identify weaknesses in order to overcome them, because the book makes it quite clear there is no escape from the class struggle. Yet Billy does not preach – he leaves it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

Although Billy has written a novel about trade-union struggle, its concepts have a much wider applicability, since the tactics of deceit, bribery, threats and divide-and-rule that characterise bourgeois tactics in trade-union struggles are also the very stuff of the bourgeois approach to political struggle.

The book is available from CPGB-ML for £8 + p&p (UK £3), and also on Kindle from for £3.12

Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers (31 Jan 2014)

ISBN-10: 184963470X and ISBN-13: 978-1849634700