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Publisher Series: Penguin Special

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Works (29)

TitlesOrder
The Badlands: Decadent Playground of Old Peking by Paul French
The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse by Geoffrey Robertson
Germany puts the clock back by Edgar Ansel MowrerS1
Paul FOOT: The Politics of Harold Wilson by Paul Foot
Poverty: the forgotten Englishmen by Ken Coates
The press by Henry Wickham Steed
The Rise of Enoch Powell by Paul Foot
Roy Lichtenstein: How Modern Art Was Saved by Donald Duck by Alastair Sooke
Women's Rights: A Practical Guide by Anna Coote
Mussolini's Roman Empire by G. T. Garratt2
Blackmail or war by Geneviève R. Tabouis3
Searchlight on Spain by DUCHESS OF ATHOLL4
Why Britain is at War by Harold NicolsonS47
Good God by John HadhamS55
New ways of war ... by Tom WintringhamS75
The real cost of the war, Penguin Special by J. Keith HorsefieldS76
Russia by Bernard ParesS81
A Dictionary of Science by E. B. UvarovS111
The Profumo Affair: Aspects of Conservativism by Wayland YoungS152
Khrushchev's Russia by Edward CrankshawS182
Brighter than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists by Robert JungkS184
Must Labour Lose? by Mark AbramsS188
Has Man a Future? by Bertrand RussellS206
Communications by Raymond WilliamsS207
Berlin : Hostage for the West by John ManderS209
Britain in the Sixties: the Family and Marriage. An analysis and moral assessment (Penguin Special. no. 210.) by Ronald FletcherS210
Unarmed Victory by Bertrand RussellS220
Student Power: Problems, Diagnosis, Action by Alexander CockburnS266
America : The Mixed Curse by Andrew KopkindS272

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Series description

In the fifty or so years following 1937 Penguin published well over 300 ‘specials’, an endeavour which Allen Lane thought ‘perhaps the most interesting thing we did’. The series was defined by its crusading engagement with topical issues of the day and by its centre-left political stance and it is often cited as shifting public and political opinion.

In the thirties, for example, early specials took a strongly anti-fascist line and sold in extraordinary quantities. At this time, it was not uncommon for specials to sell over 100,000 copies, even on occasion more than 250,000, in their first month and they are seen as having had a significant impact on British culture and public opinion, and by extension on public policy before and during the war. After 1945 the series was given a lower priority by Penguin but was resuscitated in 1960 under the editorship of Tony Godwin. In the early-1960s Specials such as Shanks’ Stagnant Society formed an important element of the so-called ‘state-of-the-nation’ literature and are commonly cited as having pushed both major parties towards the modernisation of Britain via ‘planning’.

Thereafter, specials had a crusading focus on broadly left-of-centre issues such as homelessness, regional deprivation, and the perceived failings of the postwar consensus. But in 1970s the focus shifted towards issues such as Northern Ireland, civil liberties, feminism, environmentalism, industrial relations, and worries about government ‘overstretch’ – both reflecting and helping to shape public opinion in this decade.

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