Radical Culture

Discourse, Resistance and Surveillance, 1790-1820

By David Worrall
Worral's book concentrates on the period of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. The narrative is based mainly in London, and looks at those who wanted to replicate the French Revolution in Britain. The main thread looks at those who believed in the work of Thomas Spence, who has largely been ignored in the mainstream history books. Spence was an ultra-radical, who saw the main problems with British society in land ownership. He wanted common land ownership, on a corporate basis, but […]

Wales

Epic Views of a Small Country

By Jan Morris
Clevedon-born author and historian Jan Morris describes herself as ‘by loyalty Welsh’, and writes about her subject with warmth and eloquence. As a book that captures the spirit of place, Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country, cannot be bettered. Morris gives a brusque sense of intimacy so that you feel you’ve been grabbed by the arm and are being led across the bridges and down the valleys of Wales in your wellies, while she confides everything that she is passionate about. Far from being a dry […]

Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone

By Melissa Chemam
Just finished Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone, courtesy of Tangent Books and Richard Jones. It's a detailed history of the band from the early eighties through to 2018 by French journalist, Melissa Chemam. The first half of the book, especially, really flies. The formation of the band in the eighties as the hard partying Wild Bunch sound system, cooking-up hip-hop, dub and soul in the punk-noir atmosphere of an eerily dark and violent inner city Bristol, the subsequent drift and collapse […]

Make Rojava Green Again

Building an Ecological Society

By Internationalist Commune of Rojava
The ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ campaign of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava began in early 2018. I am pleased and impressed that they have now published this inspirational book. That such a text is being produced is in itself an expression of hope. It is a most promising development in some of the least promising circumstances. The Internationalist Commune of Rojava rightly states that ‘the ecological crisis has become the most urgent challenge of our time because it touches and impacts all […]

Hitler’s British Traitors

The Secret History of Spies, Saboteurs and Fifth Columnists

By Tim Tate
Regardless of the 2015 publishing date given, this book is currently (last checked December 2018) just available in hardback, and must have been withheld due to the ongoing release of new official documents, as these terminated only in 2017. 'Hitler's British Traitors' covers a subject that was largely considered either taboo or dismissed with contempt until recently, namely the idea that if Nazi Germany had managed to invade Britain, particularly when they had a potential capability to do so in […]

Wiltshire’s Radical History

Wiltshire's Radical History - Covers
Contributors: Steve Poole – Hanged at the scene of their crime. Rosie MacGregor – Angela Tuckett. Nigel Costley – West Country Rebels. Melissa Barnett – Dame Florence May Hancock. Jeremy Corbyn MP – From Wiltshire to Westminster. A dramatic cover featuring Combe Gibbet set against a thunderous, threatening Wiltshire sky greets the reader of this short book. The work certainly does not fail to deliver on one aspect of Wiltshire’s past dark and cruel criminal justice system. On the other hand the […]

The Sons of Belial

Protest and Community Change in the North West 1740-70

By David Walsh
This is a very good book, extremely informative. Even though the bulk of the book is set in the North West of England, there is a wider historical scope. Which would be very useful for the student or historian of the period. The book opens with an in depth examination of developing economic theories. It charts the shift from a largely agrarian, paternalistic society, to an industrialising nation, and rapid urbanisation. Furthermore, the study looks at the development of a mercantilist philosophy […]

The Gallows Pole

By Benjamin Myers
Cover of novel featuring silhouette of figure with noose for hanging in background.
The Gallows Pole is a wonderful novel set in 18th Century Yorkshire. It is based on a true story about the Craggs Vale Coiners. Coiners clipped coins. If you look at your £1 coin, you will see the rim is serrated. This is due to the age old crime of clipping. Back in the day, silver and gold coins were actually made of the precious metal. Coiners were engaged in slightly clipping the edges off, melting the scrapings and re-pressing coins. These would then be circulated. Nowadays, the Bank of […]

Socialist History (51)

By Francis King and Matthew Worley (eds)
Journal Review: “Left Intellectuals after 1956” may not sound like the most exciting of titles but the latest edition of Socialist History (no 51) contains a lot of fascinating material, especially for older Bristol Radical History activists. Michael Shatz’s opening sentence sets the tone – “Why did so many intellectuals tolerate the sterile and stifling culture of the Communist Party (CPGB) during the decade following the Second World War?” He provides his own answer in his article on “The […]

Bristol from Below

Law, Authority and Protest in a Georgian City

By Steve Poole and Nicholas Rogers
Within the Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG), we are constantly pressing for more history from below. Researching, writing and celebrating our history. The history of those who have built, fed, and run Bristol through the ages, and those who have just lived by their wits. Therefore, we were quite excited to see this book. However, the book is priced at £70. Yes, that’s right, this is not a typo. Seventy pounds sterling. Whilst most of the present day working classes are struggling, with […]

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