1720. Blue Mountains, windward Jamaica. In the sweltering heat Captain Shettlewood leads a troop of British soldiers through the thick trees towards the river. They are hunting slaves who have escaped from the brutal plantations. Their mission: to find them, and kill them. But up ahead, hidden among the rocks above the water, a group of men with cutlasses and muskets wait patiently for the instructions of their leader.

Queen Nanny is a ‘wise woman’ with a reputation for ancient obeah magic, and a guerilla fighter with a genius … More

A magisterial study of the history and theory of one of the most controversial political movements. Anarchism routinely gets a bad press. It’s usually seen as meaning chaos and disorder — or even nothing at all. And yet, from Occupy Wall Street to Pussy Riot, Noam Chomsky to David Graeber, this philosophical and political movement is as relevant as ever. Contrary to popular perception, different strands of anarchism — from individualism to collectivism — do follow certain structures and a shared sense of purpose: a belief in freedom and working towards collective good without the interference of the state.

In this masterful, sympathetic account, political theorist Ruth Kinna traces the tumultuous history of anarchism, starting with thinkers and activists … More

In the dying months of the First World War, Spanish Flu suddenly overwhelmed the globe, killing up to 100 million people. it was one of the most devastating natural disasters in world history. But behind the staggering figures are human lives, stories of those who suffered and those who fought back – at the Front, at home, in the hospitals and laboratories.

Digging into archives, unpublished records, memoirs, diaries and government documents, Catharine Arnold traces the course of the disease through the … More

Born OTD in 1869, Lithuanian anarchist political activist & writer, Emma Goldman. Goldman was well known during her life, described as, among other things, “the most dangerous woman in America”. In essays like “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism” & a speech entitled “The Failure of Christianity”, Goldman made more than a few enemies among religious communities by attacking their moralistic attitudes & efforts to control human behavior. She blamed Christianity for “the perpetuation of a slave society”, arguing that it dictated individuals’ actions on Earth & offered poor people a false promise of a plentiful future in heaven. She was also critical of Zionism, which she saw as another failed experiment in state control.

A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and radical icon Emma Goldman’s extraordinary life, this graphic biography embodies the richness … More

A scarlet wheel on a blue and green flag, bright against the grey sky. Gisela leaned against the stone balustrade, tired after the journey. She’d forgotten how hectic London was, and wondered how she’d ever managed to cope with the daily commute… But she was glad she’d come. Glad she’d brought Andrej. It was important for her young son to know his roots.

Spokes is made up of stories from across the Traveller world featuring British Gypsies, settled and still travelling; Irish Travellers; … More

Born OTD in 1961, Rebecca Solnit. She has written on a variety of subjects, including feminism, the environment, social history, politics, place, landscape and art. In this acclaimed exploration of the culture of others, Rebecca Solnit travels through Ireland, the land of her long-forgotten maternal ancestors. “A Book of Migrations” portrays in microcosm a history made of great human tides of invasion, colonization, emigration, nomadism and tourism.

Enriched by cross-cultural comparisons with the history of the American West, “A Book of Migrations” carves a new route through … More

A magisterial, kaleidoscopic, riveting history of Los Angeles in the Sixties Histories of the US Sixties invariably focus on New York City, but Los Angeles was an epicenter of that decade’s political and social earthquake. LA was a launchpad for Black Power–where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation–and home to the Chicano walkouts and Moratorium, as well as birthplace of “Asian America” as a political identity, base of the antiwar movement, and of course, center of California counterculture. Mike Davis and Jon Wiener provide the first comprehensive history of LA in the Sixties, drawing on extensive archival research, scores of interviews with principal figures of the 1960s movements, and personal histories.

Following on from Davis’s award-winning LA history, City of Quartz, and picking up where the celebrated California historian Kevin Starr … More

In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean. Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the 19th century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all. Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown … More

OTD in 1381, The Peasant’s Revolt began in Blackheath. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black Death pandemic in the 1340s, the high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years’ War, and instability within the local leadership of London.

In this majestic tour de force, celebrated historian Peter Linebaugh takes aim at the thieves of land, the polluters of … More

Born OTD in 1917, British historian of the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism & nationalism, Eric Hobsbawm. This collection of 26 essays range over the history of working men & women between the late 18th century & the present day, and brings back into print a selection of this celebrated historian’s pioneering studies into labour history, together with more recent reflections previously unpublished in book form. Hobsbawm’s penetrating essays on labour history & social protest opened up a new field of study & set standards of wide-ranging, evocative, incisive analysis.

Essays in this collection include the formation of the British working class; labour custom and traditions; the political radicalism of … More