Louise Cripps Samoiloff

Louise Cripps Samoiloff: A life seeking justice in all its colours

Out December 2022 with Redwords and the Socialist History Society – available now from Bookmarks bookshop in London

£8 ISBN 9781914143878

This book introduces the remarkable life and work of Louise Cripps Samoiloff (1904-2001), an English born writer, journalist, publisher, historian and socialist who became an American citizen and was the author of over a dozen books, many of which articulated the case for the independence of Puerto Rico. It explores her political evolution, writings and activism, and how it was shaped by her relationship with the black Trinidadian Marxist C.L.R. James, author of The Black Jacobins, who she first met in the summer of 1934 while they were both members of the tiny British Trotskyist movement. As she was to write later of her ‘close association’ with C.L.R. James, ‘I, a young bourgeois woman whose aims, until then, had been to be a first-class literary writer, was pushed into a revolutionary ambiance. But it was an experience that for me, too, would colour my political perspective for a lifetime. When I started writing my own books at last, they were written from the perspective of those views I had learned in James’s London group [of Trotskyists]. They were about the Caribbean, but about Puerto Rico and the Spanish Caribbean. They were written mostly from a political viewpoint, not a literary one.’

‘Louise Cripps Samoiloff’s long, rich, and immensely prolific life speaks of the global significance of shared ideas and cultural visions across borders and in human terms. Although a journalist and writer born and raised in the British isles, Cripps Samoiloff’s militant spirit and sensibility would be also tempered in an island world on the other side of the Atlantic; in the Caribbean of intellectuals like C.L.R. James, and later on in Puerto Rico. Her wonderful history of empowerment and commitment to people, ideals, and justice is also a personal record of a woman who tried to understand her world and its peoples through her own experience and observations, at very crucial moments in recent history.’

Professor Sandra Pujals, University of Puerto Rico

Advertisement