Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler

Ned Corvan’s Life & Songs 
By Dave Harker 
Wisecrack Publications,
2017, £20.00
ISBN 978-0995741812

The mid-nineteenth century is both very near and very remote, as we realise in this study of Ned Corvan (sometimes spelt Corven). The society depicted here is only two lifespans away – my grandmother (who went into the mill aged eight – factory at 6.00 a.m., school in the afternoon) was born into the world of Corvan’s children. Yet the differences, in physical experience and in ways of thinking, are immense.… Read on ...

‘Unfinished Portrait’ by Miriam Frank

Miriam Frank’s mother fled Germany to escape the Nazis. This is a story of how Miriam’s mother was forced to move from one country after another as fascism came biting at her heels; mother and daughter moved from Spain to France, finally ending up in New Zealand via Mexico. Miriam was born into exile. Even when theoretically settled in New Zealand, Miriam found an emotional chasm between her and the other girls, though many became her friends.Read on ...

Nikolaus Wachsmann, ‘A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps’

Wasserman, in this minutely researched tome, addresses many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown up over who were the victims of Nazism as well as the contradictory and shifting impulses behind the concentration camps. An earlier paradigm: to understand the Nazis as primarily focused on destroying Communists and the left (a perspective which was also dominant in E. Germany) has shifted in the last decades to a focus on the extermination of ‘Jews’. This review will focus on these narratives, rather than the minute and distressing details of how the CCs operated or attempt to provide an explanatory framework for why the Holocaust happened (which anyway is not Wachsmann’s objective).Read on ...