A review of Sewing Freedom: Philip Josephs, Transnationalism, and early New Zealand Anarchism, by Jared Davidson

When I picked up that book at first, I was nonplussed. “Great. Another biography of an anarchist great man,” I thought. But I was wrong. It is a very different book. It is remarkable by its unpretentiousness. The life of Philip Josephs is a narrative line, but the point of the book is to show how anarchism is not a story of Great Men and Great National Movements, it is a story of a constellation of obscure individuals, many of them entirely forgotten, across borders.

I particularly recommend the passage on early 20th century revolutionary and Jewish Glasgow. Also, it made me discover Lola Ridge, a New Zealand poet who emigrated to the US. I re-published some of her stuff here.

Sewing Freedom is also very modest in size, so it is a quick read, and beautifully illustrated, so it’s a pleasure.