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Seekers: A Twentieth Century Life
Memories of People and Places, 1918-2013
By Michael Barratt Brown
Michael Barratt Brown sets each chapter of his long and eventful life, from the 1920s to 2013, within the frame of world events. Thus, after childhood and youth, at the end of one world war and the start of another, he writes about his service in a Quaker Ambulance Unit. There followed work for the United Nations and, subsequently, in documentary films, in workers' education, in industrial democracy, in socialist economics, in resisting nuclear warfare, in honest academic research, and in Fair Trade among co-operative organisations. In so doing, the author recalls something of the places, people, family and friends with whom he has been seeking to find a way to live a decent life, and to help others to do the same. Not always successful in these endeavours, he has nevertheless found wonderful love and friendships, as Seekers makes clear. The struggle goes on.
A courageous and exhilarating book, Michael Barratt Brown provides a remarkably honest narrative of his struggles both to live a good life on his own account and to improve the lot of others 'from below upwards' through his work in adult education and Fair Trade. Michael seems to have known almost everyone who mattered. As a child in 1930, he sat on Gandhi's knee. The stories of his loves and friendships give the reader a fascinating insight into the networks of the 20th century intellectual Left.
Biographer and cultural historian
By Alfred Barratt Brown
Long out of print, this new edition of Great Democrats restores to new generations a seminal work in the struggle against the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s.
'For an historian the Contents page of Alfred Barratt Brown's book is exciting enough, particularly when combined with 1934, its date of publication. How is it possible not to plunge straight into Frances Evelyn Countess of Warwick on Joseph Arch?
And then there is Henry Nevinson on Edward Carpenter, Katherine Bruce Glasier on Keir Hardie, Oliver Baldwin on William Morris
The imaginative author-subject couplings will whet any appetite. G.D.H. Cole on William Cobbett; Ray Strachey (novelist and author of the classic The Cause: a short history of the Women's Movement in Great Britain, 1928) on Millicent Fawcett
Bertrand Russell on Thomas Paine
Stephen Yeo in his Foreword, 2013
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New issue of The Spokesman
The Middle East free of WMD?
The Spokesman 122
Encouraging progress towards Syria's full compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention has been registered in recent times, with destruction of some weapons already taking place under international supervision within a few weeks of the breakthrough agreement in Geneva in September 2013. In the Dossier section, we print the landmark decision on 'Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons', agreed in double-quick time by the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
As the Organisation's programme of work is carried out, the success of which will depend on sustained political support from a range of governments and interested parties, this process may help to unlock some other doors. In this issue of The Spokesman, the people at Conflicts Forum in Beirut examine a 'point of inflection', or point of change, where new and more peaceful possibilities suddenly become 'fecund', not only in Syria but also in relation to Iran and the wider region.
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