The Autobiography of Ralph Russell

edited by Marion Molteno

Findings Keepings:
Part 1: 1918 – 1946

Absorbing and entertaining insights into life through three decades – a Yorkshire country childhood, a scholarship-boy-outsider at a public school, a communist in 1930s Cambridge, wartime India … Everywhere it is the man himself we meet – his infectious enthusiasm, his irreverent questioning, his enjoyment of simple things. A book to delight, provoke and entertain.

‘He communicates his understanding with a rare passion.’
– Times Literary Supplement

‘A delightful book – alive, vibrant and down-to-earth.  Here is a man who knows what he is talking about and has the courage not to mince his words, and the trust to know that honesty will not cause offence. Written with humour, love and commitment.’
– Primila Lewis, author of Reason Wounded

ISBN: 9 780951 975220

cache_278_435_3_losses-gainsLosses Gains
Part 2: 1945 – 1958

Continues the story of Findings Keepings from the end of war, giving a lively, personal introduction to a period of complex social and political change … Internationally, from a situation where Britain, the USA and the Soviet Union were war-time allies to the Cold War and McCarthyism. In Britain, a period of austerity and severe winters, a housing crisis, the nationalisation of coal, the creation of a National Health Service. In India, the early years of independence, land reform and peasant uprisings, tensions with Pakistan.

Informed by the motivation that spurred him to become a political activist and an interpreter between cultures, it relates his disillusion with the British Communist Party, and after 1956 with all communist leaders worldwide, the beginnings of his scholarly career, and his many warm and sometimes challenging friendships.

‘A fascinating picture – tells us how a great scholar, and great servant of South Asian literature and people, came to be formed.’
– Francis Robinson, Professor of History of South Asia, University of London

‘I read it with total absorption, both stimulated and full of praise. Thought-provoking views on race, nationality, liberation movements and religious commitment.’
– Afkar

‘Immensely readable – bits of hidden history which are not in the textbooks.’
– Dinah Tyszka, writer on Lincolnshire history

‘An admirably illuminating autobiography.’
– David Birmingham, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Kent

ISBN 978-81-88789-29-0
UK orders:
South Asia orders: 

Part 1 in translation:
In Urdu, translated by Arjumand Ara, as Joinda yabinda (2005)
ISBN 969-8379-77-0
City Press Book Shop, 316 Madina City Mall, Abdullah Haroon Road, Saddar, Karachi 74400, Pakistan 

In Punjabi, translated and published by Jogindar Shamsher (2007)
Order from: 50 Manor Haven Drive, River Park South, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Return to Ralph Russell, Urdu scholar