Julian Worker's Reviews > Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre

Peterloo by Jacqueline Riding
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it was amazing

I saw the brilliant film by Mike Leigh and I have now read the wonderful book by Jacqueline Riding. This was such a diabolical day in English Social History - 16th August 1819 - that it should be covered in the school history curriculum along with the Putney Debates and the Suffragetes. After reading the book I was elated that the story had been described so well, amazed that none of the magistrates / special constables at the scene were ever prosecuted successfully, and disappointed it had taken me so long to find out what had happened on that terrible day in Manchester. This is a gripping story that gradually brings the various strands of the story together, culminating in the massacre of civilians by the military. It is sad that it took another 100 years for the demands of the massacred reformers to be mostly met - annual parliaments are still a distant dream - and that it was not until 1928 that all people - apart from convicts and the insane - over 21 were allowed to vote. Everyone in the UK should read this book. If you do, you will never take democracy for granted and you will remember all those reformers who died in order for you to enjoy voting in a democracy.
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Reading Progress

September 6, 2019 – Started Reading
September 21, 2019 – Shelved
September 21, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
September 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Somethingsnotright What an interesting review. I'd never heard of this day in history so I am off to Google it now! Thank you.


message 2: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Maior The people of Manchester have been really rugged, austere and mystical for a long time now I keep hearing tale from Englanders.

I remember Ian Curtis of Joy Division commenting on it once in interview - he was an early harbinger of my era’s great Gothic Revolution with Nico, Bauhaus and Southern Death Cult that began in Manchester and that I think was the best cultural wave (intelligent revolution: post-punk) to hit the earth since 1964.

They of Manchester seem like some here in the States we had, some Appalachians that “done come down” off the mountain and stood up against half ok King George’s not half ok exchequer’s armies or we would have feebly lost the revolutionary war here and Washington would have been breakfast toast (we lost anyway by 1817... see my review on St Martin’s book on my 1776 shelf...another story).

I think some are not just stubborn, bloody, “cantankering for getting in a spoil with a bloke for money or land” always but are rather fighters for something they sense deeper that could befall if they aren’t that way.

So I get what you are saying.

I see non-violence as the high pass forever but understand “the lesser war” as not always at every moment in time just blanket wicked; maybe sometimes even noble.

But, oh dear, I painted myself into a corner speaking of holy wars in a comment on goodreads, now how do I get out : )?

“I better be quiet now cause I’m tired of wasting my breath, sitting around, gettin up set.” - Elliott Smith

Anyways as an historian - albeit more of the ancient past - thanks for mention of this moment.


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