Reviews Articles

‘Sweetness of Unity: Three hundred years of Quaker minuting’ by Judith Roads

22 August 2019 | by Sue Glover Frykman

A close-up of the book cover. | Judith Roads.

In the preface to this book, the author writes that it is aimed primarily at those with some experience of Quakerism and who understand something about Quaker processes. Those interested in language or historical aspects of business English may also find nuggets of interest. Those who are, have been, or...

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‘Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the road to war’, by Tim Bouverie

01 August 2019 | by Reg Naulty

A close-up of the book cover. | Bodley Head.

What is of special interest to Friends in this story, so well told by Tim Bouverie, is the strong inclination to pacifism which existed in Britain between the wars, and the huge efforts of Neville Chamberlain to preserve peace. Bouverie writes: ‘The campaign against the arms manufacturers was continued by...

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‘Stop Being Reasonable: Six stories of how we really change our minds’, by Eleanor Gordon-Smith

FREE 25 July 2019 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the book cover. | Scribe UK.

At the end of anti-religious polemics, there is often the conclusion ‘since there is no evidence for religious belief, you shouldn’t have any – if you do, you’re irrational,’ as though that were straightforward. One is interested to find, at the end of her book about being rational, Eleanor...

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‘The Educated Underclass: Students and the promise of social mobility’ by Gary Roth

18 July 2019 | by Noël Staples

A close-up of the cover. | Pluto Press.

Having returned to bus driving in 1998, I became a member of ‘the educated underclass’. Simply put, I was educated above my job’s needs, yet economically unable to mix easily with equivalently educated – wealthier – people. There are growing numbers like me in Britain since the backdoor privatisation of UK higher...

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‘The Cambridge Companion to Quakerism’, edited by Stephen W Angell and Pink Dandelion

18 July 2019 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the cover. | Cambridge University Press

The big surprise in this book is that unprogrammed Friends number only about ten per cent of the world’s Friends. Kenya has the greatest number of Quakers, followed by the USA, and Bolivia. Kenya once had 1,500 Quaker schools, although some have been taken over by the government. Kenya, Bolivia,...

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‘Beginner’s Luck’, by UA Fanthorpe

FREE 18 July 2019 | by Philip Gross

Close-up of the cover. | Bloodaxe Books.

What constitutes a voice – that outward-and-audible sign of being who we are? Finding our voice always matters, but it has a special meaning in a poet’s case. The thing that makes the reader say ‘Ah, yes, that’s so-and-so’ in a couple of lines, that’s the writer’s ...

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‘Bury the Chains: The British struggle to abolish slavery’, by Adam Hochschild

18 July 2019 | by Helen Porter

Close-up of the cover. | Pan.

In 2014 I read Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars, his brilliantly-written ‘story of protest and patriotism in the first world war’, which served as a useful corrective to the centenary commemorations. Bury the Chains is not a new book but it is tragic, compelling and as empowering as the...

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‘Adam Smith: What he thought and why it matters’, by Jesse Norman

04 July 2019 | by Richard Seebohm

A close-up of the book cover. | allen lane.

Jesse Norman’s new book is a bravura manifesto of how our politics and economics should be run. Many of us may have heard of The Wealth of Nations with its conceptualisation of markets and the ‘invisible hand’ that steers them. But Adam Smith also wrote its later chapters with...

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‘Hester and Sophie’ by John Lampen

27 June 2019 | by Alice Hardy

Close-up of book cover. | 'Hester and Sophie' by John Lampen.

There is a scene about halfway through this book where one of the main characters, Hester, and her mum are talking about the Quaker view on God and spirituality. I said, “Him?” “Well, her if you like – or even it. I don’t think of God as a big Daddy...

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Light in Darkness: The mystical philosophy of Jakob Böhme Coventry Cathedral (Until 5 July)

20 June 2019 | by Andrew Marsh

Portrait of Jakob Böhme by Christoph Gottlob Glymann. | Wikimedia Commons.

Why should anyone care about natural philosophy? This exhibition – an artistic and historical interpretation of Jakob Böhme and his work – offers an explanation. The display is superbly curated and animated by: Lucinda Martin, Universität Erfurt; Cecilia Muratori, University of Warwick; and Claudia Brink, State Art Collections, Dresden, Germany,...

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