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 […]

No Is Not Enough

Defeating the New Shock Politics

By Naomi Klein
When a new Naomi Klein book comes along it is certain to be a part of the zeitgeist. So the recent publication of No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics is no exception. Classics such as No Logo (1999) and The Shock Doctrine (2007) added important critiques to the public debate about neo-liberalism. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014) documented the environmental impossibility of the current fossil-fuelled trajectory of business as usual. No Is Not Enough […]

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 […]


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 […]

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