In 1974 friends of the Maurice Bishop family kindly wrote down an inventory of the books they found in the house. The household consisted of Maurice, his wife Angela, their children John and Nadia. There are no children's book, except possibly for Dickens' "Christmas Stories" even though John was around seven years old and Nadia, three-years-old. Because no children's books are inventoried, indications are that the listing was not comprehensive. Nevertheless, we count our blessings that Maurice Bishop kept hold of the inventory list compiled by his friends.
The books reflect the interest of a household with highly educated residents - many British fiction classics [over five titles each by D.H. Lawrence, John Galsworthy and Nevil Shute], fiction classics from the United States, travel and adventure writing, reference books, geographies, plus "The American Educator Encyclopedia" in 10 volumes.
What is interesting looking back at the path of Maurice Bishop's life are the non-fiction books acquired. Because he and his family had returned to Grenada from Great Britain in 1970, where he had studied law and then been called to the bar, there were legal books, including "In Defence of Socialism: The Official Court Record of Albert Goldman's Final Speech for the Defence in the Famous Minneapolis 'Sedition' Trial." Such studies of advocacy and evidence were found in this lawyer's non-office library.
Caribbean writers created many of the household's fiction and non-fiction titles. There were books by Wilson Harris, John Hearne, Edgar Mittleholzer, V.S. Naipaul, Andrew Salkey, Samuel Selvon, Derek Walcott. Grenadian history books included those by Frederick McDermott Coard, Raymond Devas, M.G. Smith. Caribbean and West Indian histories included those by Forbes Burnham, John Jacob Thomas's "Froudacity," Cronon's "Black Moses: the Story of Marcus Garvey & the Universal Negro Improvement Association," Eric E. Williams titles, and West Indian histories.
Cuba studies by Andrew Salkey, Alejo Carpentier and Huberman/Sweezy's "Socialism in Cuba" were part of the collection.
African studies included Diop's "The Cultural Unity of Negro Africa," CLR James' "History of Pan-African Revolt," South African Independence and African language books - Teach Yourself Yoruba, a Luganda grammar, a Swahili grammar, and a Yoruba grammar.
Black studies books abounded, especially those based in the United States. These included Du Bois' study of "John Brown"; many titles by James Baldwin; multiple U.S. Black Power titles [Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson]; Fanon's "Black Skin, White Masks;" Louis Lomax's "When the Word is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X & the Black Muslim World;" Pope-Hennessey's "Sins of the Fathers: A Study of the Atlantic Slave Traders, 1441-1807;" Arna Bontemps "Black Thunder: Gabriel's Revolt: Virginia 1800," and Cooper's "The Dialectics of Liberation."
Russian classics were not forgotten - Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Gorky, Leskov, Pushkin and Tolstoy. Soviet studies included Kennan's "Russia & the West Under Lenin & Stalin" and C. Wright Mills' "The Marxists." There were also anti-Communism titles such as Daniel & Gabriel Cohn-Bendit's "Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative", the Crossman edited "The God That Failed: Six Famous Men Tell How They Changed Their Minds About Communism," and Djilas' "The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System."
Pure Marxist thought, reflected in the inventory list, was most likely read by Maurice Bishop in these early years. These titles included Engels "Selected Writings" and works by Lenin: "Collected Works," "Against Dogmatism & Sectarianism in the Working Class Movement - Articles & Speeches," and "On Trade Unions: a Collection of Articles & Speeches."
Political titles include Walter Lippman's "The Public Philosophy: The Causes of the Decline of Democracy & the Rise of Totalitarianism;" Orwell's "Animal Farm" and "1984"; from East Germany came a "Documentation on the Question of West Berlin", and from Britain, exemplifying 'a politics of action,' was Bernard Crick's "In Defense of Politics".
Stories of the day captured in book form include biographies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, "The Rise of Enoch Powell," Sally Belfrage's "Freedom Summer", "Z", "Manchild in the Promised Land", "Nasser's Egypt" and Mailer's "Miami and the Siege of Chicago". Bishop books cover Caribbean unity titles: "Report on Proceedings of the 7th Caribbean Regional Conference" and from the Caribbean Free Trade Association, the title "CARIFTA and the New Caribbean."
The icing on this cake was "Rothman's Test Cricket and Almanac."