The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents
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A thrilling history of the rise of anarchism, told through the stories of a number of prominent revolutionaries and the agents of the secret police who pursued them.
In the late nineteenth century, nations the world over were mired in economic recession and beset by social unrest, their leaders increasingly threatened by acts of terrorism and assassination from anarchist extremists. In this riveting history of that tumultuous period, Alex Butterworth follows the rise of these revolutionaries from the failed Paris Commune of 1871 to the 1905 Russian Revolution and beyond. Through the interwoven stories of several key anarchists and the secret police who tracked and manipulated them, Butterworth explores how the anarchists were led to increasingly desperate acts of terrorism and murder.
Rich in anecdote and with a fascinating array of supporting characters, The World That Never Was is a masterly exploration of the strange twists and turns of history, taking readers on a journey that spans five continents, from the capitals of Europe to a South Pacific penal colony to the heartland of America. It tells the story of a generation that saw its utopian dreams crumble into dangerous desperation and offers a revelatory portrait of an era with uncanny echoes of our own.
may have also played a part in the decision to break ranks. It was a betrayal too far by Most. In Goldman’s eyes, nothing could excuse his cowardice and hypocrisy, and the blustering German was finally exposed as the empty vessel that many had long suspected him to be. Goldman, by contast, emerged as a model of candid loyalty and would be named ‘Queen of the Anarchists’ by the press: a sudden elevation that was nevertheless borne out by popular support within the movement, which only increased
The name of Jagolkovsky was never mentioned. Le Peuple reported how the Russian consul in Amsterdam, when ‘interviewed afresh, refused to reply, hiding behind professional secrecy’, while evidence that the bombs had been collected from Harting’s house on the rue des Dominicains was also suppressed. Even Muller changed his story, insisting that he had been mistaken in thinking that the baron had helped him carry out the attack on Renson. And as for Monsieur Léonard, who had channelled the funds
onslaught of criticism to which the anarchist elements at the congress of the Second International would be subjected when it convened in London in July 1896. A determination that anarchism should remain recognised as a legitimate socialist creed, socialism in its ultimate and purest form indeed, had led Malatesta to help organise the event, but any hopes he may have had of shaping the agenda from the inside were soon revealed as futile. ‘The only resemblance between the individual anarchists
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Information Commission, overwhelmed with applications, I have found Jo Pedder, Adam Sowerbutt, Antonia Swann and Caroline Howes to be consistently professional, prompt and scrupulous in their work on the case: the contrast with my experience of the Information Tribunal has been striking. Among the many individuals who have shared with me their specialist knowledge and advice are Regula Boschler, Dr Lindsey Clutterbuck, Michel Cordillot of Université de Paris 8, Frank Engehausen of the