by White, L.C., General secretary, Civil service clerical association; with a foreword by professor Harold J. Laski
Bickley: University of London Press Ltd, 1945. 78p., first edition 7.5 x 5 inch cardstock wraps with a printed sur-wrapper, a bright copy showing mildest edgewear. First mystery: why was this printed on acid-free paper when paperstocks were so very poor in UK throughout the war and long after. Second, Laski: an important man indeed to have dragooned into wording a preface. He was then teaching at LSE and get-attable, but still! Third, Laski's little landmines in the foreword: "Its prizes are few, its rewards relatively low, and most entrants must face the fact that large areas of its work [the civil service] are necessarily monotonous and dull. It is therefore unlikely to satisfy the eager, experimental mind..And it is important for it to be frankly stated that the Civil Service reproduces all the characteristics of British democracy outside of Whitehall; which is really to say that its claim to be a democracy does not mean, and never has meant, the career open to the talents.." And of L. C. White's text he says, "Mr. White has, of course, the tact to let his pages speak for themselves. I only warn the reader that he must search those pages with care if he wants to find the nuggets of gold hidden there, always with skill, and not seldom, I suspect, with genuine pleasure at the art with which they have been concealed. But here it is the business of an amateur [Laski himself] to be silent." I will propose that keeping creative battle-hardened minds, ready and able to do some spadework, out of the garden that's very nice just the way it is, might have been seen as a plus. Look what happened in the US, where the GIs had to be placated expensively for several decades. (Inventory #: 71252)
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