Over the last century the novel ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ has been credited with having more influence on the growth of the labour & trade union movement than Marx & Engels. Yet for a long time little was known about the author, a house-painter called ‘Robert Tressell.’ Ian Hernon has traced his life from Victorian Ireland & South Africa to Edwardian Hastings &, ultimately, Liverpool. It is the story of how arguably the greatest novel about the English working class sprang to life from Tressell’s bitter experience & first-hand observations. It is also the personal story of a workmate & single parent who was much-loved in life & venerated after his premature death before his masterpiece was published.

Robert Tressell - A Life in Hell

That masterpiece has particular resonance in today’s political climate of austerity and division. With a preface by Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union. Ian Hernon has been a journalist since 1969 and a lobby correspondent in the House of Commons since 1978. He is deputy editor of Tribune. His nine previously-published history books include ‘Riot! – Civil Insurrection from Peterloo to the Present Day’, ‘The Blair Decade’, and ‘Fortress Britain – All the Invasions and Incursions Since 1066’.

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