Reviews

The 'Russian' Civil Wars 1916-1926

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It has become fashionable in academia recently to see the Russian Revolution as only one part of a “continuum of crises” that engulfed the Tsarist Empire and the early years of the Soviet Union. This new history follows suit, rejecting the dominant view that the Civil War lasted from the summer of 1918 to 1921 in favour of ten years from 1916 to 1926.

Why 1916? Because that year saw a revolt in Turkestan against conscription to the Tsarist war machine fighting in the First World War.

Lenin on the Train

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There can be few more important journeys than the one Vladimir Lenin took when he embarked from his exile in Zurich on the “sealed” train that took him and an assortment of fellow comrades to revolutionary Russia in March 1917.

Catherine Merridale provides an exhilarating account not just of the journey itself, across war-torn Germany, through Sweden and Finland and on to Petrograd, but of the machinations that led to it, and the fantastic events of the February revolution that instigated it.

Walls Come Tumbling Down

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The social and political turmoil of the Thatcher/Major era and the cultural responses to these challenges lie at the heart of this oral history of three interlocking periods of recent British history.

Walls Come Tumbling Down is essentially three books in one. The first deals with the extraordinary rise of Rock Against Racism in the late 1970s, forged from a music fan’s outrage at racist remarks uttered by guitarist Eric Clapton into a national movement that enabled thousands of people to find their political voice and express their creativity for the first time.

Over the Rainbow

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A crowdfunding campaign has allowed Nicola Field to republish her 1995 book with a new introductory chapter. The book makes a welcome reappearance.

Field, an original member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), decided the book deserved a new airing following the huge success of the film Pride (2014) which tells the story of the group.

The author explains in a new introduction that the account in Over the Rainbow (OTR) is the first in-print version of the story of LGSM.

The Politics of Everybody

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There is a surge of interest in the politics of gender and sexuality among a new generation of activists. Sympathetic characters that challenge gender stereotypes are emerging in popular culture. The passing of equal marriage legislation signifies a more progressive approach towards homo- and bi-sexuality, yet many LGBT+ teenagers continue to fear being outed at school. Pride parades here and in the US pull huge crowds, but are dominated by commercial outfits.

Moonstone

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This short, beautiful novel tells the story of Máni Steinn Karlsson, a movie-obsessed teenager living with his one ancient relative in an attic in the centre of Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1918. Máni Steinn, translated as Moonstone, roams the small town looking for the odd jobs available to a boy who struggles to read and planning which film he will see next in either of the two cinemas.

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