Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 5 No. 3
Henry Sara and A.J.P. Taylor
Raymond Carr in his review (22 January) of Sisman’s biography of A.J.P. Taylor refers to his (Taylor’s) ‘father’s weakness in tolerating his wife’s obsession with a worthless man’, though it is unclear as to whether this is the author’s or reviewer’s judgement. This can only refer to the late Henry Sara, a self-taught working man, who, with Harry Wicks and Reg Groves, founded British Trotskyism. Harry Wicks in his autobiography (Keeping My Head, 1992, reviewed by Robert Conquest in the Times Literary Supplement, 9 July 1993) gives a short resumé (pp. 159–60) of Sara’s interesting life, which included the latter’s fearfully harsh treatment as a conscientious objector in the First World War, which prompted even Philip Snowden to ask a question in the House (it may have been in prison that Sara met the elder Taylor, who was also a CO). Worthless is hardly the adjective which comes to mind, and there are still those that honour Henry Sara, if only for his valiant attempts in the postwar period to denounce Lysenko and his theories to hostile left-wing fellow-travelling audiences.
Although a close friend of Sara’s, Harry Wicks was quite unaware of the liaison until he read about it in A.J.P.’s autobiography. Sara, whose health had been broken by his treatment as a CO, received a small allowance from the elder Taylors, but as soon as both of his parents were dead, A.J.P. Taylor, who hated Sara, cut it off.
Updated by ETOL: 21.9.2011