by Will Thorne - £9.99 Lawrence and Wishart Ltd (2015)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781910448090 | ISBN 10: 1910448095
My Life’s Battles is one of the first true working-class autobiographies, the story of Will Thorne, who helped to make a better world for ordinary people. Thorne’s life story is a journey from tenements and factories to the corridors of power and the barricades of the Russian Revolution.
Thorne began his working life as a six-year-old child labourer. His politics were shaped by his adventures with the tramping navvies, and forged among the roaring furnaces of the Beckton Gasworks in East London. As a semi-skilled industrial labourer, he founded the Gasworkers' Union, campaigned on behalf of the unemployed and fighting for the Eight Hour Day. Eleanor Marx helped him learn to read and write. He eventually became the General Secretary of the General and Municipal Workers' union, and was an East London MP for forty years.
Along the way, Thorne experienced the street fights and bitter strikes that represented the struggles of British Socialism and that gave rise to the Labour Movement. He oversaw the development of these battles into the creation of the Welfare State. Thorne’s is a story of success, and one for celebration, but it is most importantly about one individual's achievements for the many, rather than for his own worldly gain. Sometimes fact is more fantastical – and liberating – than fiction.
(Price & availability last checked: August 2015)
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In booklists: Working Class Lives, Art and Culture, Political Memoirs and Biographies, In categories: History & Biography, Society, Welfare, Justice & the State, Politics & Philosophy,