Alan Crowe

Bob Crow

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Reading this book is like skiing down a mountain. There’s the grand panoramas and promise of exhilaration ahead. It feels rewarding but as you approach the bottom the going gets tougher as the slope levels out, where the quality and depth of the snow diminish. The completion brings its own final flourish.

Gall’s biography starts by outlining his method and setting out the personal and political context through which Crow came to trade unionism and politics. This made the first few chapters the strongest.

Do the honours; Train of thought

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Do the honours

Should we commemorate the centenary of the First World War? For the left it was a major disaster, and life-shattering for the millions of workers on all sides who enlisted in it. Expectations that it would lead to a better life were totally destroyed.

Yet even after the casualty lists ran into hundreds of thousands, the frightened rulers of the states who started it turned to force to prolong it. Only when those who did the actual fighting and dying decided enough was enough did it come to an end - in Russia and Germany, by revolution.

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