Poor Boy's Tale - an autobiography by Alan Woodward

Alan Woodward Poor Boy's tale cover

Autobiography of this working class revolutionary and radical historian covering the years 1939-1997. The book also charts Alan's progression from Leninism to libertarian socialism. Published by Gorter Press in 2012.

Submitted by Fozzie on April 30, 2023

Libcom note: Alan Woodward sadly died in 2012 shortly after this book was published. There is an obituary by Dave Morris at the Radical History Network blog here. His papers are held at Bishopsgate Institute in London.


  • Photo list
  • Introduction, dates and reading guidance

Part 1 - 1939 to 1979, a chronology

  • Chapter One: Early life, family, schools, etc 1939-57
  • Chapter Two: introduction to politics, time in South Paddington and lslington, Young Socialists, ISG, marriage, 1957-1964
  • Chapter Three: into Tottenham, International Socialists Organisation, early activities , people in the group, 1964-1973
  • Chapter Four: Jobs and work in East London and Tottenham 1961-1973
  • Chapter Five: Industrial perspectives locally and nationally, 1962-1973
  • Chapter Six: moving to Coventry etc R&F org, role of CP , RTW campaign & unemployed, 1974-1979

Part 2 Themes 1978-1997

  • Chapter Seven: internationalism, anti-racism, attitudes to national liberation 1961-1995
  • Chapter Eight: Trade Union Studies in colleges, universities, workplaces and unions 1975-1998
  • Chapter Nine: Fight for the Living, health, safety and welfare at work, Courses and union provision 1975-1997
  • Chapter Ten: Miners and other strikes, a look at the emergence of workers councils and the political ideas 1965-1998
  • Chapter Eleven: Reading, writing, etc, a survey of manuscripts and texts and books, 1954-1998
  • Chapter Twelve: personal, events, family, lifestyle 1960 to 1990s
  • Chapter Thirteen: from leninism to libertarianism; A first look at socialist libertarianism 1960-1998
  • Appendix: Gazetteer of workers councils
  • Reading list, books mentioned, recommended
  • Index
  • Photos pages