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Books in brief: Rebel Crossings by Sheila Rowbotham

A delightful history of early socialist pioneers

By Rachel Holmes   January 2017

rebel_crossings-max_221-bb747d1828eb3145af96dee87f63a5b5Rebel Crossings by Sheila Rowbotham (Verso, £25)

In the heady days of 1880s nonconformity two middle-class renegades, Miriam Daniell and Helena Born, forged an intense friendship. Together with their lovers, union militant Robert Nicol and craftsman anarchist William Bailie, they immersed themselves in socialism, radical literature and labour organising before migrating to America following dreams of greater liberty and equality. Inspired by them, Fabian new woman novelist Gertrude Dix followed their transatlantic slip-stream, joining the group and later becoming Robert’s partner in California.

Rowbotham’s historical cast is completed by progressive Bostonian Helen Tufts.…

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