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New Left Review I/145, May-June 1984

R. W. Davies

‘Drop the Glass Industry’: Collaborating with E. H. Carr

Carr and I first corresponded in 1955, after he had borrowed my thesis on The Development of the Soviet Budgetary System. We met a year later in 1956, when he gave a seminar in Glasgow, where I had my first academic job. In January 1958 he proposed that we should write jointly the economics volume of the instalment of his History of Soviet Russia concerned with 1926–29. I began work in the summer of 1958 and the typescript went to the publishers nine years later in September 1967. Foundations of a Planned Economy, 1926–1929, vol. 1, was eventually published in two physical volumes in June 1969. Our collaboration was comprehensive. We each collected material for and prepared the first drafts of our own sections: Carr was responsible for Agriculture, Labour and Trade, I for Industry, Planning and Finance. But we exchanged a lot of material for each other’s sections, and commented in detail on each other’s drafts, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, often word by word. We scribbled on the margins, re-wrote paragraphs which we did not like, and, with Carr doing most of the work here, reduced a huge typescript by about one-third to 1,000 printed pages. The book went through several drafts. In the course of all this activity, we exchanged dozens of letters, met several times a year for a couple of days at a time, and spent three months working together on the final draft in Cambridge.

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