HENRY GEORGE by Charles Albro Barker

HENRY GEORGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Perhaps the definitive biography of Henry George, this is the result of Mr. Barker's life as a teacher and a dedicated researcher of the course of the life of the California journalist and economic thinker whose policies- notably that of the single tax- have had a continuing international influence. George was born in Philadelphia in 1839, into a poor but deeply religious family, who if they could not afford a formal education for their son, gave him instead the moral fibre to be a crusader for social reform. The set of personal values that followed and the set of social circumstances that were to augment them, did their further work to make Henry George the man he was. For when he migrated to California in 1857, his first years there knew the full effect of a laborer's existence. As George went from job to job and suffered drastic poverty after his marriage, hard life deepened his conviction of the senseless irony behind poverty that increased- as the wealth of the few increased. It was consequently years before he found a secure newspaper job and the time to write down his ideas. When he did, his following soon grew and his Progress and Poverty -- that included the most extensive outline of the theory of single tax and how the unearned increase on land value should be spread out to the benefit the community as a whole- became one of the most widely read books of its day. George went on then to inspire much of the British Empire with his ideas, to enter politics in New York and to have an important role in first American labor movements; the single tax was but a segment of his work. Mr. Barker's tribute to it here is lucid and detailed.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1955
Publisher: Oxford