Out of the Old Earth is a classic of working-class autobiography, rich in its portrayal of growing up and starting work in a Durham pit village. Its first-hand descriptions of work underground are among the most vivid and detailed ever published. Harold Heslop was the only British writer invited to speak at the International Conference of Revolutionary and Proletarian Writers held in Kharkov in the Ukraine in 1930. He witnessed a show trial and watched the epic building of a dam on the Dnieper; he drank with the Nobel prizewinning novelist Mikhail Sholokov in the bar of the Moscow Writers' Union; and in Leningrad he met Yevgeny Zamyatin, author of the banned novel We, who had lived on Tyneside during the First World War.
„Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”