The men and women featured in this book are an eclectic bunch. We have a mutineer; a couple of suffragettes, one of them framed for conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister; a man who led an armed rebellion in 1817; an early Quaker who incurred the bigotry and wrath of the governor of Massachusetts; a volunteer with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War; a woman who fought for the abolition of slavery taking on not only the slave-owners but also the gradualist approach advocated by William Wilberforce; the founder of the first newspaper in Newark, sent to prison for selling a Tom Paine pamphlet; an activist of the Windrush Generation; the Beast of Bolsover and many others.
What they all have in common is that they had the courage and confidence to take on the power of the establishment – moral courage and often physical courage.
They are all heroes worth celebrating, women and men whose example can teach us about the importance of being willing to stand up and fight against cruelty, against unfairness, against bigotry. They show us what it means to be a rebel and a radical.
David Bell was born in Leicestershire in 1939. He was a Primary school teacher from 1960 until 1989, including seven years as head of a village school. He then escaped from teaching, tunnelling out from beneath an increasingly large mountain of paperwork, to become a full-time writer. He is the author of some twenty-seven books of left-field local history. Twenty of these were published by Countryside Books, and six by Bradwell Books. One book was “The Dirty Thirty: heroes of the miners’ strike,” published by Five Leaves. David has an alter ego – Jack Wainer – who writes very dark crime and horror fiction. Unlike David, Jack is best avoided.
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