Army of Shadows

By Joseph Kessel

By Joseph Kessel
Front cover of Army of Shadows
  My partner brought me this book for Xmas. It was priced at 2/6, about 12p in today’s prices. I hoped she paid more than that, but this classic is priceless. This copy was printed in 1959, but the original was written by Kessel in 1943, and it about the French Resistance to Nazi occupation. The German army had invaded France, and an armistice was signed near Compiègne on 22 June 1940. Life continued as normal at first, but the German war machine took more and more. France was partitioned […]

54

By Wu Ming
WuMing 54 Cover
What does the Italian/ American mafia, the Italian Communist Party, Cary Grant, Field Marshal Tito, the KGB, and a McGriffin TV have in common? Well read this book and you will have a find out. All these are marvellously and skilfully interwoven into a rich plot that spans 541 pages of compelling reading. What makes the story even more enthralling is the fact that it is written by a collective of authors, going under the name of Wu Ming. Previously known as Luther Blisset, a famous black […]

Eric Hobsbawn: Socialist Historian

This publication by The Socialist History Society is a record of a special event in 2013 to celebrate and assess the work of the late Marxist and historian, Professor Eric Hobsbawm. The centre section of this publication, entitled ‘Hobsbawm’s Tetralogy’ focuses on his four important writings The Age of Revolution, Primitive Rebels, The Age of Capital and The Age of Extremes, beginning at the French revolution in 1789 and concluding towards the end of the twentieth century in 1991. According to […]

Angela Remembered

The Life of Angela Gradwell Tuckett

By MacGregor
Rosie MacGregor remembers Angela, that is Angela Gradwell Tuckett (1906-1994); a stalwart Communist, an all-round radical and something of a Renaissance woman. I’ll call her simply Angela too. Angela had a radical family background. She descended on her father’s side from a family of abolitionist (and quite prosperous!) Quakers. Her maternal family line included her grandfather, Bristol artist Henry Stacy and her aunt the pioneering socialist Enid Stacy. Born in Weston-Super-Mare, Stacy was an […]

A Girl Among the Anarchists

By Isabel Meredith
From its advent as a modern worldview anarchism was always too pure a faith to be properly judged by the conduct of its adherents and practitioners. Or so it would seem from A Girl Among the Anarchists, one of several novels that lifts the lid on that simmering cauldron that was the Victorian anarchist scene. First published in 1903, the University of Nebraska deemed this rare book of the belle epoch worthy of reprinting in 1992. The fact that it was written by insiders is the virtue that sets […]

City Under Fire

The Bristol Riots and Aftermath

By Geoffrey Amey
City under fire cover
From Dreadnought Books The riots of 1831 gripped the city of Bristol for three days at the end of October. Most general histories of the city include some reference to this infamous event. ‘This lively row gave Bristol the biggest advertisement in its history’ (Columbus p. 16, 1893), yet it has rarely received more considerable attention. There appear to be only four book-length histories: ‘A Citizen’ (John Eagles) produced his assessment in the following year, The Bristol Riots, Their Causes, […]

Central Labour College

A Chapter in the History of Adult Working-class

By W.W.Craik
Written by William Craik a railway guard who got kicked out of Ruskin College, Oxford and was then the principal of the CLC in the early 1920s The Central Labour College schooled a whole generation of the brightest workers mainly from the mines and railways of Britain between 1909 and 1929. It was formed by the dissident students who had been thrown out of Ruskin college following a strike (see Colin Waugh ‘Plebs’ ISSN 0459-2026). The CLC was housed initially in Oxford until the University […]

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

By G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday not only draws upon the historic stigmatisation of anarchists but also self-consciously explores and develops the caricature. The novel was first published in 1908. During the late Nineteenth Century anarchism had emerged as a distinct militant strand of socialism, a distinction underlined by the exclusion of anarchists from the Second International. By 1908 the anarchist movement had been heavily vilified due to various individualist ‘outrages’. […]

A Child of the Jago

By Arthur Morrison
A child of jago
Arthur Morrison’s 1890’s novel A Child of the Jago is set in the slum courts of London’s East End. Life in the Jago is a Hobbesian war of all against all, a socialist Darwinist nightmare for which the legal jurisdiction is the law of the jungle. Based on the historic rookeries of London’s Old Nichol, the Jago is not only a geographical area but an existential state of desperation. Morrison penned A Child of the Jago in such a way as to both inform and also shock and titillate middle-class […]

Anarchy In A Cold War

By Kurtis Sunday
Anarchy In A Cold War is set in divided Berlin in 1981. But Berlin is far more divided than just the Cold War divisions of East and West. The book centres on the squatter culture against the state, and the “Bullen” (police) who harass, beat and arrest the squatters. The narrative also highlights the rich culture of the street, and the different groups, political and racial, that inhabit the thoroughfares of Berlin. There are a lot of parties, and support networks. However, the main characters in […]

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