Communities of Resistance is an astonishing piece of scholarship. Cyril Pearce, whose Register of almost 20,000 First World War Conscientious Objectors has been crucial to so much local research, compares the data from every corner of England, Wales and Scotland. His in-depth analysis investigates why some places were ‘hot-spots’ of anti-war activity and unpicks the wider circles of support – political, social, religious, familial – on which the COs relied. Among many fascinating details I learned that some of the ‘safe houses’ had also given refuge to suffragettes on the run. All this is liberally illustrated by stories of the individual COs. Their courage is too often forgotten and the cartoons of the day reveal such open contempt! Yet by 1924 there was even a shift towards admiration. Otherwise how could there have been a dinner for many COs and friends in the House of Commons itself? Communities of Resistance is a definitive and welcome contribution to the history of the anti-war movement.
For more detail on Cyril's research on conscientious objectors in the first world war see his blog for the Manchester Centre for Public History & Heritage, which i
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Manufacturer/Publisher: Francis Boutle
Author: Cyril Pearce
Date Published: 2020