July 15, 1942, Wednesday. Remember this day; remember it well. You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. Renia is a young girl who dreams of becoming a poet. But Renia is Jewish, she lives in Poland and the year is 1939. When Russia and Germany invade her country, Renia’s world shatters. Separated from her mother, her life takes on a new urgency as she flees Przemysl to escape night bombing raids, observes the disappearances of other Jewish families and, finally, witnesses the creation of the ghetto.

But alongside the terror of war, there is also great beauty, as she begins to find her voice as a … More

When Laurie Cunningham played for England in an under-21s match against Scotland in 1977, he became the first black footballer to represent England professionally. Two years later, he would become the first Englishman to play for Real Madrid. In a time when racist chants flew from the stands, Cunningham’s success challenged how black players were perceived, paving the way for future generations. But Cunningham was more than an exceptional footballer who could play like a dream.

He was a dandy with a love of funk music and bespoke suits, as easily graceful on the dance floor … More

There’s a reason Ms. Alexievich won a Nobel Prize’ – Craig Mazin, creator of the HBO/Sky TV series Chernobyl – A new translation of Voices from Chernobyl based on the revised text. In April 1986 a series of explosions shook the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Flames lit up the sky and radiation escaped to contaminate the land and poison the people for years to come. While officials tried to hush up the accident, Svetlana Alexievich spent years collecting testimonies from survivors – clean-up workers, residents, firefighters, resettlers, widows, orphans – crafting their voices into a haunting oral history of fear, anger and uncertainty, but also dark humour and love.

A chronicle of the past and a warning for our nuclear future, Chernobyl Prayer shows what it is like to … More

Born OTD in 1922, American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker, Howard Zinn. For anyone who grew up in the 20th century, this book is a must read. This autobiography chronicles the life and times of Howard Zinn, America’s foremost social historian. From his days growing up poor in New York to his service is the Second World War to his work with the SNCC in the Civil Rights movement, Zinn tells the story in a personal fashion with poignant detail and antecdotes and tales that will make you laugh and make you cry. This is one of the best autobiographies of the 1990’s, and is a must read for all fans of history, Howard Zinn, and the human bonds that bring us all together.

Available in store and online.  

Born OTD in 1924, British anarchist writer and social historian, Colin Ward. Ten lectures. Endless variations on a few simple but neglected truths. From An Anarchist Approach To Urban Planning, to Do-It-Yourself New Towns. Colin Ward is one of the few internationally known libertarian writers in the field of housing and other social issues. In this series of talks given to various audiences worldwide, he reveals the history of housing and town planning as a series of conflicts between the top-down approach to local adminstration, which prefers effeciency to democracy, and the grassroots approach, with emphasis on fostering self-reliance in citizens.

Most of Ward’s works deal with the issue of rural housing and the problems of overpopulation and planning regulations in … More

Inspired by the surreal accounts of the explorer and ‘man of a million lies’ Marco Polo, Imaginary Cities charts the metropolis and the imagination, and the symbiosis therein. A work of creative nonfiction, the book roams through space, time and possibility, mapping cities of sound, melancholia and the afterlife, where time runs backwards or which float among the clouds. In doing so, Imaginary Cities seeks to move beyond the cliches of psychogeography and hauntology, to not simply revisit the urban past, or our relationship with it, but to invade and reinvent it.

Following in the lineage of Borges, Calvino, Chris Marker and Kenneth White, the book examines the city from global macrocosm … More

Born OTD in 1918, South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, Nelson Mandela. Freedom fighter, fugitive, celebrated prisoner, president: the hero of a nation. Nelson Mandela was called a terrorist, forced into hiding, captured, threatened with the death penalty and eventually thrown into prison for 27 years, but nothing could stop him from fighting to liberate his country from the infamous sytem of apartheid, which for so many years sought to separate people by race in South Africa. A hero in the struggle, he never gave up.

Even when he was a prisoner, he worked secretly with his comrades to undermine South Africa’s oppressive government. This is … More

Caroline Crampton was born on the Thames Estuary to parents who had sailed there from South Africa in the early 1980s. Having grown up with seafaring legs and a desire to explore, Caroline is both a knowledgeable guide to the most hidden-away parts of this overlooked and unfashionable part of the country, and a persuasive advocate for its significance, both historically and culturally. As one of the key entrances and exits to England, the estuary has been pivotal to London’s economic fortunes and in defining its place in the world.

It has also been the entry point for immigrants for generations, yet it has an ambivalent relationship with newcomers, and … More

OTD in 1843, around 4,500 “Rebecca” rioters gathered and attacked the Carmarthen workhouse in Wales, and set about destroying it. Many of the protests tended to follow a ritual, whereby a ringleader (‘Rebecca’) would stumble towards a gate like a blind, elderly woman. The ‘daughters’ would then clear the path with an almighty racket.

Country men disguised as women, the Rebecca Rioters rose up against the oppressive imposition of steep taxes at the toll … More