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Unisa Press

Between Empire and Revolution

Between Empire and Revolution: A Life of Sidney Bunting, 1873-1936
Allison Drew

Unisa Press Hidden Histories Series. Copublished with Pickering & Chatto Ltd, London
Format  245 x 165 mm (Softcover edition, SA)
Pages: x + 294
Item 8061
ISBN 978-1-86888-571-8
September  2009
SA price: R160,00 (VAT incl)
Rest of the world: contact Pickering & Chatto Ltd, London
Unisa Press Marketing: Mr Mafeno Phora tel +27 12 429 8964

 Between Empire and Revolution

This is the first scholarly biography of Sidney Bunting. His life offers a unique perspective on the British Empire, illustrating the complex social networks and values that were carried across the world in the name of empire. The lawyer son of renowned Wesleyan social activists, Bunting was radicalised in South Africa. He was a founding member of the Communist party and campaigned for black emancipation.

Allison Drew draws on archival material which has only recently become available, including the Bunting family papers, records of Bunting’s Oxford years, trail transcripts from Bunting’s legal and political career, and the Comintern archives.

"This superbly researched and beautifully written work illuminates the diverse worlds of Bloomsbury and Oxford, of dusty South African mining towns, and of the Moscow of Lenin's day—and tells us much about the unexpected connections between these disparate realities.”
Jonathan Hyslop

"Unquestionably this very readable volume will remain the authoritative scholarly study of Sidney Percival Bunting, one of South Africa's most remarkable communist pioneers.”
Emeritus Professor Sheridan Johns

About the author
Allison Drew is professor of politics at the University of York. Earlier in her studies, she obtained a BA in Economics from New York University, and an MA in African Area Studies, an MA in Political Science and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, a visiting associate at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, an honorary research fellow at the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, University of York and a visiting fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford.

She is interested in twentieth-century and contemporary Africa, particularly the dynamics between African states and social movements and struggles over development. Her research has examined the movement for democracy in South Africa, especially the changing relationship between socialism, nationalism and the state and the interactions between national and international movements. Her biography of South African Communist Sidney Bunting examines the relationship of liberal and communist ideologies and the experience of international migration from the perspective of an individual life. Her current project, Visions of Liberation: Communism and Nationalism in Algeria and South Africa, follows the political trajectories of two African liberation movements as they moved from non-violent protest to armed struggle. Her research has been funded by the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Contact Allison: Department of Politics, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK
Derwent College, Room D/118. Telephone: +44 (0)1904 43 3548 e-mail:

Her recent books

Between Empire and Revolution: A Life of Sidney Bunting, 1873-1936 ,  London : Pickering and Chatto, March 2007, also paperback, UNISA Press, 2009.
Discordant Comrades: Identities and Loyalties on the South African Left , paperback ed., Pretoria : Unisa Press, 2002, 309pp., hardback, Aldershot : Ashgate, 2000, 309 pp.
South Africa 's Radical Tradition: A Documentary History , vol. 2, 1943-1964, Cape Town : University of Cape Town Press; Mayibuye Books, University of the Western Cape ; and Buchu Books; 1997, 402 pp.
South Africa 's Radical Tradition: A Documentary History , vol. 1, 1907-1950, Cape Town : University of Cape Town Press
South Africa 's Radical Tradition: A Documentary History , vol. 1, 1907-1950, Cape Town : University of Cape Town Press

Other titles in the Hidden Histories Book Series

Christianity and the colonisation of South Africa: a documentary history  1487-1870 (Vol 1) – Charles Villa-Vecencia & Peter Grassow
Christianity and the modernisation of South Africa 1867-1936 (Vol 2) - John de Gruchy


My life: From Robben Island to Wall Street - Gaby Magomola, 2009
The Fort: Students and politics at South Africa’s first Black university, 1933-1973
- Daniel Massey
Because they chose the plan of God: The story of the Bulhoek massacre 24 May 1921
Bob Edgar
The ANC's early years: nation, class and place in South Africa before 1940
Hidden Histories Series
- Peter Limb
Above the Skyline: Reverend Tsietsi Thandekiso and the founding of an African gay church. Hidden Histories Series. Graeme Reid
Seeds of Separate Development. Hidden Histories Series. - Cynthia Kros


'DEAF ME NORMAL’. Deaf South Africans tell their life stories - Ruth Morgan (ed), 2008
The Guardian: The history of South Africa's extraordinary anti-apartheid newspaper - James Zug, 2008
-    The making of an African Communist: Edwin Mofutsanyana and the Communist Party of South Africa 1927—1939 - Robert Edgar (reprinted by popular demand, 2008)

-   Writing left: The radical journalism of Ruth First - Donald Pinnock

-   50 Years of the Freedom Charter - Jeremy Cronin & Raymond Suttner

-   Rebellion and Uproar: Makhanda and the Great Escape from Robben Island - Julia C. Wells