Archives: Reviews

Ian Haile – the Chapels Society Newsletter September 25, 2018

To my shame, although I have known of Mark Guy Pearse for over 40 years, his most famous novel Daniel Quorm is amongst my books and in the early 1980s a centenarian told me of how he had heard him preach in London, I have not read much about him. That omission has now been corrected by this book. And how! The author acknowledges the assistance received from many people over the past decade. This indicates the…

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Michael Rosen – The Guardian Review

Europe’s charnel house Michael Rosen celebrates the work of the French first world war poet, Marcel Martinet In 1919, France’s foremost literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, was won by Proust. One of the runners-up was Marcel Martinet with La Maison à l’Abri (“The House out of Harm’s Reach”). It’s a novel about the first world war seen through the eyes of a group of tenants living in the same house, and George Paizis’ account of the book…

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Western Morning News – Donald Rawe

Poet enriches the language with his impressive work A new volume of work by poet Tim Saunders represents one of the most significant steps forward in the state and development of Cornish literature It is possible it is the most impressive single volume since Whitley Stokes’ 1872 edition of the Camborne Mystery Play, Bewnans Meriasek. This may seem an outrageous suggestion. Yet no other writer in Kernewek has produced anything comparable to it. Here are 68…

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Crime, History & Society – Guys Meershoek September 24, 2018

The fall of the Soviet Empire gave rise to several comprehensive historical studies on Europe during the short twentieth century (1914–1989). It was a horrible period, dominated by war, civil war and mass destruction of soldiers and citizens. Willingly or unwillingly police forces participated in these acts of violence. In several European countries historians are examining their involvement, but transitional studies or collections  of essays on European policing are still rare. One of the is Conflict…

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Permanent Revolution – Bill Jefferies

How British Intellectuals Viewed Stalin Paul Flewers is a member of the Revolutionary History editorial board and over the years has contributed numerous articles on different strands of the left and their understanding of the ex-USSR. He expresses a preference for Hillel Ticktin’s analysis of the class nature of the former Stalinist states, reflecting his years in the 1980s as a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party (now deceased). This book is something of a…

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Weekly Worker – Mike Belbin

Fellow travellers of statism In this extensively researched book, Paul Flewers sets out to correct two misconceptions about how the USSR was seen and discussed in the west during the 1930s. This study, though, has implications beyond the detail of the period it covers: it is a contribution to our reckoning with the ways adopted to achieve socialism in the 20th century. Flewers confronts two myths about western views of the ‘Soviet experiment’. Firstly, that…

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Labour History Review – Gary Daniels

The Soviet Union and British Spies In his thoroughly researched and detailed study, Flewers portrays the wide range of attitudes to the Soviet Union which existed in 1930s Britain. They ran from rightwing anti-Communism through scepticism and critical interest to fellow travelling and formal commitment by means of membership of the Communist Party (CP) and its front organizations such as the Friends of the Soviet Union. At that end of the spectrum, political and/or emotional…

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The Guardian – Nicholas Clee September 18, 2018

What TE Lawrence was to the Arabs, Colonel PJ Woods was to the people of Karelia, the land lying between Russia and Finland. Woods was posted there in 1918, when the Allies aimed to prevent German occupation of north Russia. The British troops stayed after the end of the first world war, with the new objective of using Karelian help to arrest the progress of bolshevism. Woods, born in Ulster, became the Karelians’ champion, despite…

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Morning Star – Gwyn Griffiths July 31, 2018

It is generally accepted that the Cornish language died in 1777 with the passing of one Dolly Pentreth. I suspect the myth to be an imperialist ploy – take away the language of the colonised and then steal or declare as irrelevant rubbish, their history. I can say with certainty that there were Cornish immigrants who spoke the language in the leadmine villages of North Cardiganshire, Mid-Wales, in the 1850s. But allowing for the probability…

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Mick Jenkins July 26, 2018

Clear Red Water. Really? Rhodri Morgan (retired First Minister) takes centre stage in this book. Written by two left-wing Labour activists (that’s a rarity in itself), it is an interesting and passionate analysis of Welsh Labour rule and the Plaid/Labour Coalition which followed. It seeks to explain the implications and importance of Morgan’s “clear red water” speech, showing how radically post-devolution Welsh politics has differed from its New Labour counterpart in Westminster. The authors acknowledge…

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