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Following up from the Talbots' brilliant biography of Lucia Joyce, this excellent graphic story takes a close look at the suffragette movement, through the person of Sally Heathcote, a red-haired Northern girl who moves to London and becomes a core activist, imprisoned and force-fed through a hunger srike, growing up quickly in brutal political circumstances. Dangerfield brings in the suffragettes as just one of the destabilising factors for the Asquith government in The Strange Death of Liberal England; I hadn't realised just how strong the commitment to political violence was from an early stage, much more so than the Irish activists of either side at that particular time; nor was I aware of the full brutality of the British state's reaction to those who only wanted an equal say in its governance. Talbot tells a compelling story, but is also transparent about where she has egged the pudding; I knew so little about the period that I turned to the endnotes with some excitement to find out if Sally Heathcote was a real historical figure or not. (And I usually hate endnotes with a deep deep loathing.) The last line, delivered to a dying Sally in 1969 by her granddaughter, is a real emotional kicker. Strongly recommended.

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parrot_knight
Jul. 26th, 2015 12:18 pm (UTC)
As a small child (and I still have bootees knitted by her) I knew an elderly suffragette who had firebombed a railway station (goods only, unstaffed at the time, no casualties) and had been on a committee to discuss bombing a cathedral.
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