Originally published in 1918. Whatever one's views no one can deny the endurance or influence of a society in which the Webbs, Shaw, Annie Besant, Wallas, Wells, etc., almost all the 'personalities' of the period, were involved to a lesser or greater extent and which has played such an important part in the oscial thought of England. Yet, so little is known about the society's early history that even in 1916 Pease said that the only sources were 'shabby notebooks and the memories of a few men now rapidly approaching old age.' Since its first publication 'The History of the Fabian Society' by Edward Pease has been increasingly recognized as almost the only contemporary source for the genesis and early development of Fabianism. Twenty-five years as secretary and his presence at the institution of the Society enabled Pease, in a truly Fabian way, to give a valuable survey of the growth of the Society from its days of middle-class 'fellowship' down to the typical solid Fabian workmanship embodied in the Minority Report of the Poor-Law Commission.
Margaret Cole's new introduction evaluates the present-day significance of a book which is indispensable for any student of Labour history.