Dec 09 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER THE ‘RETURN OF THE BRUTE’

 

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As the official celebrations and the unofficial commemorations of the centenary of the First World War continue, many personal accounts, poems and novels written about this period have been published or republished. One novel, not yet republished, is Return of the Brute, written by Liam O’Flaherty. David Trotter, in The Cambridge Companion to The Literature of the First World War, argues that, unlike most British war novels, it was written by an author of proletarian origin. Whilst O’Flaherty was Irish, Trotter is right in considering  Return of the Brute to be a British war novel. It is based upon the author’s experiences fighting in the British army on the western front.  The novel “intended to do justice to the brute’s point of view” [1], where the “brute” stands for working-class soldiers. If so, the “brute” refers to atomised, alienated and demoralised workers, brutalised by life on the western front.
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Dec 14 2014

THE WOBBLIES IN THEIR HEYDAY

Murdo Ritchie reviews a new book by Eric Chester, The Wobblies in their Heyday. The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World During the World War One Era.

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AN OPEN UNION IN A POLITICAL WORLD

Using documents that have been concealed or hidden in plain sight, Eric Chester reveals the repression used to destroy the militant union organisers of the Industrial Workers of the World or Wobblies. Just as the USA entered World War One, powerful business groups, the police, private detective agencies organised armed vigilantes; State and Federal authorities including the President and the courts ignored legal and constitutional laws to crush this militant union.

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