Sending out Ireland`s Poor – book promotion@LeftCentral

Sending out Ireland`s Poor 

Between 1800 and 1914 over eight million people emigrated from Ireland. While the majority paid their own passage or had the fares paid by relations and friends in North America, there was a sizeable group who could not afford to leave. This book looks at the 300,000 emigrants who went to North America from nineteenth-century Ireland and who had their fares paid by the British government, landlords, poor law unions and philanthropists. Most of these emigrants were among the poorest people in Ireland: workhouse paupers, landless labourers, single women or those living in the congested board areas where they encountered perennial destitution and near famine conditions.  Read more of this post

The Lost World of Rhodes by Nathan Shachar book review

Mike Guilfoyle

Image © Mstyslav Chernov

I was immediately drawn towards Nathan Shachar’s evocative and moving book on the formative historic influences that have he notes contributed so much to the diverse and richly textured socio -cultural inheritance of the Greek Island of Rhodes, the largest of the twelve Dodecanese islands situated near to South-Eastern Turkey (remarkably it only became a part of Greece in 1948!).  An Island that has been so memorably shaped and contoured by the confluence of epochal storied events ably detailed in this deeply humane and insightful narrative.   Read more of this post

In Search of the City on a Hill book promotion@LeftCentral

In Search of the City on a Hill 

In Search of the City on a Hill reconstructs the complete story of ‘the city on a hill’ from its Puritan origins to the present day for the first time. From John Winthrop’s 1630 ‘Model of Christian Charity’ and the history books of the nineteenth century to the metaphor’s sudden prominence in the 1960s and Reagan’s skilful incorporation of it into his rhetoric in the 80s, ‘the city on a hill’ has had a complex history: this history reveals much about received notions of American exceptionalism, America’s identity as a Christian nation, and the impact of America’s civil religion. Through this history, the book challenges the widespread assumption that Americans have always used this potent metaphor to define their national identity. It demonstrates that America’s ‘redeemer myth’ owes more to nineteenth- and twentieth-century reinventions of the Puritans than to the colonists’ own conceptions of divine election. The conclusion considers the current status of ‘the city on a hill’ and summarizes what this story of national myth eclipsing biblical metaphor teaches us about the evolution of America’s identity.

Published by Bloomsbury Academic

Author: Richard M. Gamble

This book will be reviewed at the Central soon.

The Tories From Winston Churchill to David Cameron book promotion@LeftCentral

The Tories From Winston Churchill to David Cameron 

The Tories offers a thorough and distinctive study of the electoral strategies, governing approaches and ideological thought of the British Conservative Party from Winston Churchill to David Cameron. Timothy Heppell integrates a chronological narrative with theoretical evaluation, examining the interplay between the ideology of Conservatism and the political practice of the Conservative Party both in government and in opposition. He considers the ethos of the Party within the context of statecraft theory, looking at the art of winning elections and of governing competently. The book opens with an examination of the triumph and subsequent degeneration of one-nation Conservatism in the 1945 to 1965 period, and closes with an analysis of the party’s re-entry into government as a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, and of the developing ideology and approach of the Cameron-led Tory party in government.

Published by Bloomsbury Academic

Author: Timothy Heppell

This book will be reviewed at the Central soon.

Darcus Howe: A Political Biography book promotion@LeftCentral

Darcus Howe: A Political Biography

Darcus Howe: a Political Biography examines the struggle for racial justice in Britain through the lens of one of Britain’s most prominent and controversial black journalists and campaigners.

Born in Trinidad during the dying days of British colonialism, Howe has become an uncompromising champion of racial justice. The book examines how Howe’s unique political outlook was inspired by the example of his friend and mentor C.L.R. James, and forged in the heat of the American civil rights movement, as well as Trinidad’s Black Power Revolution. Read more of this post

Thinking Against the Current book promotion@LeftCentral

Thinking Against the Current 

This collection of literary/historical essays, written 1970-2010, covers political subjects as diverse as 17th Century Quaker persecution history, the social impact of Malthus, the self-emancipation of English women, Eleanor Rathbone on the human rights of girls and German women’s resistance to Hitler. The more literary subjects include the social thinking of the English Romantics, Dickens’ Great Expectations, Simone Weil’s great essays attacking militarism and Virginia Woolf’s opposition to the State — as well as contemporary American women poets on the problem of war. But despite all its diversity, this collection has one unifying theme — the necessity for resistance, for ‘thinking against the current’, as Virginia Woolf wrote in ‘Thoughts on Peace in an Air-raid’. The torch of resistance to oppression and militarism is shown to have been continuously handed on through the generations from the seventeenth century to our own day by men and women who had the courage, at whatever personal cost, to ‘fight with the mind’. This book of passionate, lively essays is not merely a treasure trove for biographical researchers; it is also strengthening medicine, introducing us to unfamiliar forebears who can help us in our current struggle for a better world. As Simone Weil said: “We can find something better than ourselves in the past”.

Sussex Academic Press (UK) – published September   2013

Author: Sybil Oldfield

We are delighted to announce that Lincoln Green will be reviewing this text at the Central.

Madrid’s Forgotten Avante-Garde book promotion@LeftCentral

Madrid’s Forgotten Avante-Garde 

Madrid’s Forgotten Avante-Garde explores the role played by artists and intellectuals who constructed and disseminated various competing images of national identity which polarised Spanish society prior to the Civil War. The convergence of modern and essentialist discourses and practices, especially in literature and poetry, in what is conventionally called in Spanish letters “The Generation of ’27”, created fissures between competing views of aesthetics and ideology that cut across political affiliation. Silvina Schammah exposes the paradoxes facing Madrid’s cultural vanguards, as they were torn by their ambition for universality, cosmopolitanism and transcendence on the one hand and by the centripetal forces of nationalistic ideologies on the other. Taking upon themselves roles to become the disseminators and populisers of radical positions and world-views first elaborated and conducted by the young urban intelligentsia, their proposed aim of incorporating diverse identities embedded in different cultural constructions and discourse was to have very real and tragic consequences as political and intellectual lines polarised in the years prior to the Spanish Civil War.

Sussex Academic Press (UK) – December   2013 Author: Silvina Schammah Gesser

We are pleased to announce that this book will be reviewed for LeftCentral by Dr Alan Sennett

Lost World of Rhodes book promotion@LeftCentral

Lost World of Rhodes  

Four peoples, each with its own culture, language and faith, shared a small Mediterranean town and experienced, each in its own way, the upheavals of war, modernity, emigration and occupation. With the German takeover in 1943, the Holocaust in 1944 and the beginning of Greek rule in 1947, this multiethnic world perished forever. At the centre of this book stands the Sephardi community — Spanish-speaking Jews who arrived in Rhodes sometime after the Spanish expulsion edict of 1492 and who remained the largest single group within the old city walls until Italy adopted German racial legislation in 1938. When sultan Abdulhamit II ascended to the Ottoman throne in 1876, the Jews of Rhodes were among his most loyal and traditional, not to say hidebound, subjects. But within the course of a few decades, this bastion of piety and rabbinical tradition was thoroughly transformed by French rationalism, Italian secularism and the pressures of economic globalisation. Many unlikely characters come alive in this spirited account of the vibrant and irretrievably lost world of Rhodes: The French monks who impart universal values to provincial Turks, Greeks and Jews; the Rhodian schoolboy lost in a Congolese jungle; the Italian general who brings sanitation to the medieval town; the Greek shepherd who knows the history of Rhodes better than any scholar; the Turkish diplomat whose wife was murdered by the Nazis and then risked his life to save Jews from the SS. These are just some of the stories related directly to the author, who combines journalism with scholarship in the recreation of a unique cultural microcosm.

Sussex Academic Press (UK) – April   2013  Author: Nathan Shachar

We are delighted to announce that Mike Guilfoyle will be reviewing this text at the Central.

Reconstructing Spain book promotion@LeftCentral

Reconstructing Spain 

This book explores the role of cultural heritage in post-conflict reconstruction, whether as a motor for the prolongation of violence or as a resource for building reconciliation. The research was driven by two main goals: first, to understand the post-conflict reconstruction process in terms of cultural heritage, and second, to identify how this process evolves in the medium term and the impact it has on society. The Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and its subsequent phases of reconstruction provides the primary material for this exploration. In pursuit of the first goal, the book centres on the material practices and rhetorical strategies developed around cultural heritage in post-civil war Spain and the victorious Franco regime’s reconstruction. The analysis seeks to capture a discursively complex set of practices that made up the reconstruction and in which a variety of Spanish heritage sites were claimed, rebuilt or restored and represented in various ways as signs of historical narratives, political legitimacy and group identity. The reconstruction of the town of Gernika is a particularly emblematic instance of destruction and a significant symbol within the Basque regions of Spain as well as internationally. By examining Gernika it is possible to identify some of the trends common to the reconstruction as a whole along with those aspects that pertain to its singular symbolic resonance. In order to achieve the second goal, the processes of selection, value change and exclusionary dynamics of reconstruction and the responses it elicits are examined. Exploring the possible impact of post-civil war reconstruction in the medium term is conducted in two time frames: the period of political transition that followed General Franco’s death in 1975; and the period 2004–2008, when Rodríguez Zapatero’s government undertook initiatives to ‘recover the historic memory’ of the war and dictatorship. Finally, the observations made of the Spanish reconstruction are analysed in terms of how they might reveal general trends in post-conflict reconstruction processes in relation to cultural heritage. These insights are pertinent to the situations in Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Published: Sussex Academic Press (UK) – March   2014 – Author: Dacia Viejo-Rose

We are delighted to announce that Dr Alan Sennett will review this book at the Central, his own text Revolutionary Marxism in Spain 1930-1937 is out in June.

Aristocrats, Adventurers and Ambulances book promotion@LeftCentral

Aristocrats, Adventurers and Ambulances 

When a military coup provoked civil war in Spain in July 1936, many thousands of people around the world rallied to provide humanitarian aid. Britons were no exception. Collective efforts in Britain to provide aid for the Spanish Republic were vast in both scope and effect. Whilst such enterprise has formed the focus of a few previous studies, some of the most dramatic stories of the Spanish war have yet to be uncovered. This book seeks to shed light on the activities of two separate ventures that played important roles in British medical and humanitarian aid to Spain — the Scottish Ambulance Unit and Sir George Young’s Ambulance Unit. The volunteer members of these teams (those who went out to Spain and those who supported them in Britain) earned the unstinting praise of the Spanish government for their selfless commitment to the cause, as well as winning the respect and gratitude of the citizens whose welfare they strove so selflessly to protect. Recently discovered documentation reveals previously undisclosed details of these remarkably altruistic and, indeed, heroic enterprises, clarifying the reasoning behind their creation and documenting their endeavours in Spain — endeavours of key relevance to the wider history of the conflict. In Spain, the volunteers of the Scottish Ambulance Unit and the George Young Ambulance Unit offered a heartening and inspiring antithesis to the suffering they sought to relieve. They deserve to be remembered for what they embodied during those days of untold cruelty and destruction — outstanding examples of man’s humanity to man.

Sussex Academic Press (UK) – December   2013 author: Linda Palfreeman

We are delighted to announce that Dr Alan Sennett will review this book at the Central, his own text Revolutionary Marxism in Spain, 1930-1937`is due out in June.

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