The Introduction

toritto

“Comrade Balabanoff! There is someone here I would like you to meet!”

Angelica turned around to face the voice. It was Franco, one of her colleagues on the Central Committee of the Italian Socialist Party.

“Good evening! How are you!” He gently kissed her on the cheek. With him was a young man rather shabbily dressed, looking somewhat down and out.

Angelica had seen thousands like him. No work and few prospects.

Her life had been so different. Born in Ukraine in 1878, she was the youngest of 14 children, 7 of whom had died before she was born. Her family was very well to do and she wanted for nothing except a mother’s love.

Her mother was a tyrant insisting that the poor peasant household servants bow and scrape, even before the children. Angelica still cringed with embarrassment thinking of grown men humiliating themselves before her because they needed…

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The First Casualty is Truth

writerlywitterings

This, you may have noticed, is the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. I think generally, so far, it has been handled quite well. After fifty years of denigrating those who wanted to celebrate the fallen in two world wars, even the BBC decided to get on message.

I have always had an especial interest in the wars. The day on which the dead and injured are supposed to be remembered happens to be my birthday. From a very early age I was aware of and studied warfare, particularly the Great War. Not from any ghoulishness, but because I felt very strongly, and still do, that it was such an important forge of English and British nationhood.

Britain and France stood alone in the Great War for so long. If it were not for the British Navy preventing the Germans from leaving port, it is quite likely that the…

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