C.P. Snow Books In Order

Publication Order of Strangers and Brothers Books

The Light and the Dark (1947) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Strangers and Brothers aka George Passant (1948) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Time of Hope (1949) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Masters (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The New Men (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Homecomings (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Conscience of the Rich (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Affair (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Corridors of Power (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sleep of Reason (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Last Things (1970) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Death under Sail (1932) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Search (1934) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Malcontents (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In Their Wisdom (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Coat of Varnish (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non Fiction Books

The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Science and Government (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Two Cultures, and a Second Look (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Variety of Men (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The State of Siege (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Public Affairs (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Trollope (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Realists (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Physicists (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

C.P. Snow is an English novelist who spent several years in the U.K government. Best known for the Strangers and Brothers’ collection of novels, some people have come to define C.P. Snow with the lecture he gave in 1959 about the gulf between the sciences and humanities.


C.P. Snow was the son of a church organist and Choirmaster. The second of four boys, Snow went to Alderman Newton’s School. He also attended Leicestershire and Rutland College (presently the University of Leicester).

C.P. Snow studied chemistry for two years before pursuing a master’s degree in physics.

A scholarship to Christ’s College, Cambridge helped Snow acquire a Ph.D. in physics, the future author eventually becoming a Fellow of Christ’s College in 1930.

Born Charles Percy Snow in 1905, C.P. Snow served as a British Civil Servant in a variety of positions, this including technical adviser in the Ministry of Labor.

Snow also graced the Nazi’s special search list, which was a list of those particularly prominent people that would be arrested once Great Britain was invaded and turned over to the Gestapo.

C.P. Snow’s political life saw him undertake the position of Parliamentary Secretary in the House of Lords to the Minister of Technology, Snow’s recognition for all the years spent serving his nation manifesting when he was eventually knighted in 1957.

Snow eventually became Baron Snow of the City of Leicester.

C.P. Snow and Pamela Hansford Johnson, a novelist, where married in 1950, eventually having one son. During his lengthy political and academic career, Snow became acquainted with the likes of G.H. Hardy (Mathematician), P.M.S. Blackett ( a Physicist) and Jacques Barzun (a Cultural Historian) to mention but few.

He also came to know the novelist William Cooper (H.S. Hoff-later) who he tutored at Christ’s College. William and C.P. Snow would eventually make numerous appearances in one another’s novels, their friendship burgeoning while they worked together in the Civil Service.

+Literary Career

C.P. Snow emerged on the literary scene with Death Under Sail, a whodunit released in 1932. He would later gain considerable popularity for a series of novels that were eventually titled Strangers and Brothers’.

Of these novels, which sought to explore intellectual minds from the Academic and Government fields in the Modern era, the best-known is The Masters which tackles the political machinations of a Cambridge College struggling to elect a new Master.

The Masters drew intrigue because it had depicted an insiders’ view of the political complexities of this world, tackling concerns that were not strictly academic but which had the power to sway seemingly objective scholars.

Two books from the Strangers and Brothers’ series were awarded the James Tait Black Memorial’ Prize in 1954. C.P. Snow also had the privilege of being shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Their Wisdom’.

When people talk about C.P. Snow today, they usually make mention of The Two Cultures, a Rede Lecture he delivered in 1959 which provoked heated debate. The lecture sought to explore the gulf between the sciences and humanities, two major cultures of modern society, this gulf seemingly acting as a hindrance to man’s ability to solve the world’s problems.

In the lecture, C.P. Snow condemned the British Education system which rewarded the humanities while disparaging scientific efforts. In this, Snow believed, the British Elite were deprived of the preparation they required to manage the scientific world. This was in contrast to the Germans and Americans who gave equal priority to humanities and sciences.

+George Passant

George Passant’s story is told by Lewis Eliot in this, the second book in the Strangers and Brothers Series. Passant is a Midland Solicitor’s managing clerk. He is also an idealist determined to bring freedom to people between 1925 and 1933.

C.P. Snow isn’t exactly a widely read author, especially amongst fans of fiction. As such, a lot of readers are unaware of this influential book, which is not only intellectually challenging but quite readable.

Unfortunately, it does grow tedious in the middle, though the ending is unique and satisfying. People might compare George Passant to Middlemarch, possibly even The Sun Also Rises.

George Passant, the character, is sympathetic. Born in Suffolk, there is depth to the character that will appeal to avid readers. Loyal to a fault, Passant lives a quiet life in an ordinary little town.

The book could be described as a realistic account of Passant’s life, career and the observations he makes about his society. Despite common assumptions, there is nothing mundane about this story, which sees Passant traverse some of the most influential circles of political and academic society.

Life in Britain during World War Two is brought to the fro, this along with elements of a generational conflict. George Passant, the book, manifests C.P. Snow’s very keen observations about life. It is also very well written, though it is unlikely to entice the average young reader.

+The Light and the Dark

Published as the second in the Strangers and Brothers’ series but actually the fourth book overall, this story begins in Cambridge before moving to Monte Carlo and Switzerland. Here Lewis Eliot narrates the career of Roy Calvert, a controversial linguist, and his childhood friend.

The story of The Light and the Dark begins in the early thirties, picking up after Lewis Eliot’s election as Fellow of a minor Cambridge College.

He encounters a manic depressive linguist of considerable intelligence called Roy Calvert. The book chronicles the many tests that buffet their friendship, particularly in the setting of academic politics, though events eventually shift to administrative work in London during WWII.

As with most of C.P. Snow’s novels, The Light and the Dark is very intellectual, featuring numerous complex conversations about Fascism and Communism. While a few female characters pepper the book, they exist to act as love interests for Calvert. While Eliot is married, his wife doesn’t appear in this book.

The friendship between men and the nature of small-scale politics within academic settings is emphasized. C.P. Snow endeavors to bring the human interactions to life, shining best when he is throwing light upon the conflicts between the characters in the book. Admittedly, as with most of Snow’s works, this book will only appeal to a particular type of reader, the kind interested in realistic fiction.

Book Series In Order » Authors » C.P. Snow