Suffragette Fascists by Simon Webb
When it comes to controversial topics, Suffragette Fascists by Simon Webb* surely is talking about one of them. The subtitle is Emmeline Pankhurst and Her Right-Wing Followers. As I was not born or raised in UK, I think I can engage with this topic more objectively than others who were taught that the suffragette movement is the reason they can vote right now. Thus, I was very intrigued by the topic discussed in this book. I read a few of his books and I enjoyed them.
He takes an unusual and controversial look at the suffragette movement, which is refreshing and something I think it should be explored more. Many people think that the leaders and the movements should be perfectly clean and in line with modern day ideals, which is strange, considering that ideas and ideals change over time, when people learn more, but to learn we need to start the conversation.
Talking about fascism is always difficult. Unlike communist movements in Europe, which were highly controlled from Moscow by the Comintern, fascism, being far-right, is unique to each country. German fascism differs from Italian fascism and from Spanish fascism, and by quite a lot on topics like religion, for example. I think he could have explored that a bit more in the beginning of the book. Also he needed to add footnotes or endnotes for a book this controversial.
Webb goes on to compare Emmeline Pankhurst and Women’s Social and Political Union to fascist movements. He says that WSPU was financed by wealthy backers, terrorism was used against working-class men and women, it was an anti-Semitic group, and also undemocratic. It was interesting to see quotes from wikipedia, as they are used by many today for a quick research and so what is mentioned in there is relevant for exactly these reasons. Even something that sounds as clear as “unoccupied” is not what it seems in the beginning.
In his attempt to link the suffragettes to the fascist movements in Europe he makes comparisons on topics which were a bit strange, like anti-vivisection and vegetarianism, which gets a bit muddled and seems as a diatribe. Also, Hitler was not a vegetarian, as he says in the book, this was a bit of propaganda. Even if Hitler and some suffragette were veggie, that’s not what made them fascists. Many of the animal activists today are left-wing. This is why I gave the book 4 stars, some of the things mentioned felt exaggerated to make a point and there was not an attempt to present data objectively.
I gave the book 4 stars and I would recommend it. It could have been easily a 5 stars book with a bit of care around the construction of a couple of the arguments and footnotes/endnotes.
Suffragette Fascists by Simon Webb
Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen and Sword History
Year it was published: 2020
Genre(s): History – 20th Century
About the author: Simon Webb is the author of a number of non-fiction books, ranging from academic works on education to popular history. He works as a consultant on the subject of capital punishment to television companies and filmmakers and also writes for various magazines and newspapers; including the Times Educational Supplement, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.
Books by him: Forgotten Slave Trade; The Analogue Revolution; Post-War Childhood; 1919: Britain’s Year of Revolution; A History of Torture in Britain; British Concentration Camps; First World War Trials and Executions; Bombers, Rioters and Police Killers; Suffragette Fascists; The Suffragette Bombers.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword
*I was sent a copy of Suffragette Fascists by Simon Webb for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.