An autobiography of Stuart Christie. I'd not heard of him until reading this book.
His main claim to fame is being charged with attempting to assassinate General Franco in 1964 when he was still only 18. Far from his home in Glasgow and unable to speak Spanish he was arrested meeting his Spanish contact. The worst part of the charge was that it was completely true.
In 1971 he was arrested again, this time in Britain, suspected of being a member of the Angry Brigade.
The book works on so many levels. It's an insightful social history that touches on changes in Europe - and especially Britain - in the 50s, 60s & 70s. It's provides a great overview of radical politics during the same period. It's a great exploration of the legacy of the Spanish Civil War and the way the ideas endured beyond the 1930s. The early 70s are evoked espeically well - the radical politics, an establishment on the run and the bent coppers. It's also the story of an exceptional man - basically an ordinary working class bloke who happened to hold very strong political convictions and wanted to change society. That said he is very thoughtful and realistic about his ideals and what he managed to achieve. The book is fascinating, Stuart's personal story s rivetting and his ideas are still completely valid and contemporary. Alas my perception is that less people are prepared to engage with and discuss these ideas. I find it amazing that 35 years ago a sizeable proportion of the UK population believed that society could be - and was about to be - changed for the better. It didn't happen and I'm not sure it'll ever happen again.
Fascinating and inspiring.