Red, Red Rose

There are so many holes in my knowledge of history which are women shaped, women who changed the world around them and who I would have been taught about in school if they’d been born male. I am trying to fill in some of these blank spots myself by following up on even the smallest of lead I find and then burrowing further until I can fill my view of the past with glorious women, not only rows and rows of white men.

I watch a lot of booktube and one of my favourite bookworms is Jean from ‘Jean Bookishthoughts‘. She recently had a post where she talked about some books she’d had delivered from Verso and one book out of her bundle caught my eye immediately.

Before I talk about the book, first a little word on the publishers Verso. They describe themselves as being:

…the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world, publishing one hundred books a year.

They began with works in translation, focusing on politics, economics and social theory and have gone from strength to strength as the years have passed by. You can read more about them by clicking here and also view their full range of books, including the one I’m going to introduce you to…now!

‘Red Rosa’ is a graphic biography. Lately I’ve been increasing my intake of graphic novels as I’ve been enjoying them so much and my appreciation for this form of literature is really growing. This was my first time dipping my toe into a graphic biography however and it’s been a great success. Sometimes historical biographies in a more traditional text form can be a little dry, as dates and places I’ve never heard of are reeled off, I can notice my attention may have drifted away a little. This problem is completely negated for me with the graphics, my involvement is held tight by the scenes playing out before my eyes and I really loved the artwork by Kate Evans, who also wrote the text.

Rosa Luxembourg was a Polish Jew, born in 1871, when Russia still controlled the country. With her father showing her his liberal beliefs she soon forged her own path as a socialist thinker, despite huge difficulties that stood in her way, she was truly a revolutionary. Her intellect, passion and commitment to her cause never wavered, despite the persecution she endured. She was never afraid to fight against those who she disagreed with, Stalin and Lenin being two adversaries she would not back down to. Her incredible writing and philosophy being as innovative and radical as it was, she was a target from day one.

This biography not only takes us through her political journey, but also that of her own personal life, her personality so vibrant and powerful the two never going to be the most easy of bed fellows.

Rosa lived a life that burned bright, and her death at the hands of the far right in Germany is an upsetting one, but from reading about how deeply held her convictions were and what a brave woman she was, I remain convinced she would have met the end with her head held high.

Learning about Rosa has ignited a flame to know more about this wonderful woman, and luckily for me, and all you readers out there who I’m sure will be equally fascinated, Verso also stock Rosa’s writings, so we can hear directly from her. I guess my ‘TBR’ pile is going to be even bigger!

Red Rosa by Kate Evans £9.99 (Verso)

Here comes the science bit…

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Until next time though,

Happy Reading!

Red, Red Rose

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