Ready for Revolution

The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona 1933-38

By Agustín Guillamón
Translated by Paul Sharkey Morpheus: ‘I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo, I just said it would be the truth’ I remember seeing Frederica Montseny speak in Barcelona in 1986 for the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. I was on holiday with Ian Bone and our girlfriends and as we looked up at Montseny I remember Ian slagging her off and being a bit embarrassed that this ‘brave’ woman who must have been through so much was not getting the respect she deserved. Of course at the time I was a […]

Partisanas

Women in the Armed Resistance to Fascism and German Occupation (1936–1945)

By Ingrid Strobl
Partisanas: Women in the Armed Resistance to Fascism and German Occupation (1936-1945)
This book examines the parts played by women in the struggle against fascism across Europe. Strobl acknowledges the importance of so-called “passive” resistance such as hiding people, distributing leaflets and listening for information on radio Moscow and the BBC, which is perceived as the traditional role of women in the resistance. However this book looks as the women who broke away from this traditional role and took part in the armed struggle against fascism. As someone who didn’t know very […]

The Body Economic

Why Austerity Kills

By David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu
This book and one of its authors briefly hit BBC radio in the summer of 2013 and luckily one afternoon I caught one of the interviews. What stuck in my mind was the almost unbelievable statement made by David Stuckler that ‘ten million Russian men disappeared in the early 1990s’ as a result the transition from so-called ‘Communism’ to ‘Capitalism’. Ten million! Surely this must have made world news? How had I not heard about this biblical scale disaster? It must be left wing lies….mustn’t it? […]

The Blood Never Dried

A People's History of the British Empire

By John Newsinger
This year is seeing a veritable frenzy of spectaculars encouraging the sad old supremecist idea that Being British is something to be jolly well/fucking proud of, what with all our institutions and history and achievements. Our diversity in particular has been cited as a significant reason we got lumbered with the Olympics and the French didn't. Anybody wishing to read something that presents a less uncritical evaluation of these ideas and an unsanitised history of some of the "achievements" […]

Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power

Community Organising in Radical Times

By Amy Sonnie and James Tracey
The history of radical 'White' activism in the 1960s and 70s in the USA is dominated by the the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a large organisation which was very influential in the creation of what is known as the 'New Left'. Much has been written about their activities in the Universities particularly around resistance to the Vietnam War and their eventual split which led to urban armed groups such as the Weather Underground. However, this interesting book uncovers the hidden history […]

The Intellectual Life Of The British Working Classes

By Jonathan Rose
The Intellectual Life Of The British Working Classes
This is a brilliant book for all people interested in the history of the working class . How good books, music and fine art moved the long revolution forward for the poor, uneducated masses, from the pre-industrial era to the twentieth century. All thinking people will be inspired by the memoirs, social surveys, statistics and research into how the working classes educated themselves. One chapter entitled ‘What Was Leonard Bast Really Like?’ gives the reader a completely new insight into the […]

Chavs

The demonization of the working class

By Owen Jones
Chavs: the demonization of the working class
The backdrop of this book is the social and economic transformation of society in Britain over the last 30 years overseen by the political management of Thatcher and Blair; characterised by the erosion of the British organised industrial working class, through the destruction of British industry. However the book is not concerned with looking at that class war (when competing fractions of the bourgeoisie fought a war to the death while uniting to attack the combativity of the proletariat across […]

The Shadow Of Marriage

Singleness in England 1914-60

By Katherine Holden
The Shadow Of Marriage: Singleness in England 1914-60
This very well researched book concerns single men and women living in England during the early years until the mid twentieth century. Information taken from various sources, such as official records, statistics, interviews with elderly single people and institutions, create a very clear picture of people who were unmarried during those years. The attitude of society at that time towards illegitimacy, the unmarried mother, abortion, divorce, adoption, homosexuality, is discussed. Singleness was […]

In Contempt of All Authority

Rural Artisans and Riot in the West of England, 1586-1660

By Buchanan Sharp
In Contempt of All Authority: Rural Artisans and Riot in the West of England, 1586-1660
Two of the most common types of popular disorders in late Tudor and early Stuart England were the food riots and the anti-enclosure riots in royal forests. Of particular interest are the forest riots known collectively as the Western Rising of 1626-1632, and the lesser known disorders in the Western forests which took place during the English Civil War. The central aims of this volume are to establish the social status of the people who engaged in those riots and to determine the social and […]

The Last Rising of the Agricultural Labourers

Rural Life and Protest in Nineteenth-Century England

By Barry Reay
The Last Rising of the Agricultural Labourers
The Hernhill Rising of 1838 was the last battle fought on English soil, the last revolt against the New Poor Law, and England’s last millenarian rising. The bloody ‘Battle of Bosenden Wood’, fought in a corner of rural Kent, was the culmination of a revolt led by the self-styled ‘Sir William Courtenay’. It was also, despite the greater fame of the 1830 Swing Riots, the last rising of the agricultural labourers. Barry Reay provides us with the first comprehensive and scholarly analysis of the […]

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