Inland from the Wash, on England’s eastern cost, crisscrossed by substantial rivers & punctuated by soaring church spires, are the low-lying, marshy & mysterious Fens. Formed by marine & freshwater flooding, & historically wealthy owing to the fertility of their soils, the Fens of Lincolnshire & Cambridgeshire are one of the most distinctive, neglected & extraordinary regions of England. Francis Pryor has the most intimate of connections with this landscape. For some 40 years he has dug its soils as a working archaeologist – making ground-breaking discoveries about the nature of prehistoric settlement in the area – & raising sheep in the flower-growing country between Spalding & Wisbech.

In The Fens, he counterpoints the history of the Fenland landscape and its transformation – from Bronze age field systems…

Born OTD in 1928, American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou’s seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents & resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration.

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in…

The GND has the potential of becoming one of the largest global campaigns of our times, and it started in Ann Pettifor’s flat. In 2008, the first Green New Deal was devised by Pettifor and a group of English economist and thinkers, but was ignored within the tumults of the financial crash. A decade later, the ideas was revived within the democratic socialists in the US, forefront by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The Green New Deal demands a radical and urgent reversal of the current state of the global economy: including total de-carbonisation and a commitment to fairness and social justice. Critics on all sides have been quick to observe that the GND is a pipe dream that could never be implemented, and would cost the earth. But, as Ann Pettifor shows, we need to rethink the function of money, and how it works within the global system.

How can we bail out the banks but not the planet? We have to stop thinking about the imperative of…

Money makes the world go round: but what is it really? And how is it produced? Above all, who controls its production, and in whose interests? Money is never a neutral medium of exchange. Nor are bankers simply go-betweens for savers and borrowers. In this accessible, brilliantly argued book, leading political economist Ann Pettifor explains in straightforward terms history’s most misunderstood invention: the money system. Pettifor argues that democracies can reclaim control over money production and subordinate the out-of-control finance sector to the interests of society, and also the ecosystem.

She also examines and assesses popular alternative debates on, and innovations in, money: positive money, helicopter money and the rise…

OTD in 1972, Actor Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the ‘Red Scare’ in the early 1950s. McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, academics, & labor-union activists.

Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, & the level of threat posed by a person’s real…

The 1990 Strangeways Prison riot was a 25-day prison riot and rooftop protest at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, England. The riot began on 1 April 1990 when prisoners took control of the prison chapel, and the riot quickly spread throughout most of the prison. The riot and rooftop protest ended on 25 April when the final five prisoners were removed from the rooftop, making it the longest prison riot in British penal history. The riot sparked a series of disturbances in prisons across England, Scotland and Wales, resulting in the British government announcing a public inquiry into the riots headed by Lord Woolf. The resulting Woolf Report concluded that conditions in the prison had been intolerable, and recommended major reform of the prison system.

“This book…makes a vital contribution to the continuing campaign for change. It does so because it has the insight of…

Born OTD in 1949, American soul, jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken-word performer, Gil Scott-Heron. Author Leslie Gordon Goffe takes a look at the up and down life of American singer Gil Scott-Heron, the so-called ‘Godfather of Rap’. This book also takes a look at Gil’s relatioship with his father, Jamaican footballer, Gillie Heron. The first black person to play professional football in the US as well as Scotland’s Celtic Football Club.

Available in store and online.  

OTD in 1854, Charles Dickens’ novel, ‘Hard Times’, begins serialisation in his magazine Household Words. Unusually for Dickens, Hard Times is set, not in London, but in the imaginary mid-Victorian Northern industrial town of Coketown with its blackened factories, downtrodden workers & polluted environment. This is the soulless domain of the strict utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind & the heartless factory owner Josiah Bounderby. However human joy is not excluded thanks to ‘Mr Sleary’s Horse-Riding’ circus, a gin-soaked & hilarious troupe of open-hearted & affectionate people who act as an antidote to all the drudgery & misery endured by the ordinary citizens of Coketown.

Macaulay attacked Hard Times for its `sullen socialism’, but 20th-century critics such as George Bernard Shaw and F.R. Leavis have…

While Montego Bay natives Jackie Bernard, his brother Footy Bernard and cousin Lloyd Kerr recorded under various guises in the early ’60s, their collective arrival as The Kingstonians in 1967 marked a sea change not only in the vocal trio’s productivity and popularity, but also in the emerging Reggae sound. The Kingstonians made several chart-topping singles between 1968 and 1970, including the massive hit “Singer Man” whose success ultimately led to the release of their sole LP, Sufferer.

Originally issued on Trojan, Sufferer collects a dozen of The Kingstonians’ best-known songs. Produced by Derrick Harriott, these truly boss…

Born OTD in 1936, American poet, novelist, & social activist, Marge Piercy. He, She And It, is a cyberpunk novel by Piercy published in 1991. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction novel in 1993. The novel examines gender roles, human identity & AI, political economy, environmentalism, love, & storytelling through a suspenseful plot, set in a post-apocalyptic America, of the romance between a human woman & the cyborg created to protect her community from corporate raiders.

In the middle of the twenty-first century, life as we know it has changed for all time. Shira Shipman’s marriage…