Bolton, Andrew

Bolton, Andrew

Andrew Bolton

1 June 2022Review

PM Press, 2021; 208pp; £16.99 (less for the e-book)  

Rebecca Subar has written a great book. It is not complicated, has lots of stories, and is easy to read. It got better and better as I read through it. I remain inspired. But who is Rebecca?

Rebecca is ‘a transmasculine anti-Zionist able bodied white American Ashkenazi secular Jewish mom.’ She understands both privilege and vulnerability, she knows both being ‘up rank’ and ‘down rank’. This gives her insight and empathy with other vulnerable groups.

Professionally, Rebecca…

1 February 2022Review

University Press of Kansas, 2021; 200pp; £27.50

Why read something from Kansas? How can anything be relevant to climate justice that comes out of a part of the USA that consistently votes Republican, and where school boards regularly try to enforce the teaching of creationism by science teachers? For 20 years, I lived just over the border in Missouri and, despite the conservative stereotypes, there are hopeful stories to be told coming out of Kansas. Wes Jackson is one of these. Jackson is a geneticist and ecologist who grew up on the…

1 December 2021Review

Deseret Book Company, 2021; 288pp; £19.38

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, often known as ‘Mormonism’) has a strong war tradition, both in their additional scriptures and in their first years (1830 – 1844) on the frontier in the US, under the leadership of the founder of the church, Joseph Smith Jr.

Their violence continued after migration westward under Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, to what became Utah. It includes the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857.

Mormons were encouraged to obey…

1 October 2021Review

Pluto, 2021; 256pp; £16.99

Permaculture was launched by the book Permaculture One (1978), written by Terry Leahy’s fellow Australians David Holmgren and Bill Mollison. It began as a system of agriculture and horticulture that emphasised the growing of perennial tree crops as opposed to annuals, drawing on the practices of indigenous peoples with the use of ecological and agricultural sciences.

Permaculture then evolved to become ‘sustainable agriculture and settlement design informed by three…

12 August 2021Blog

Allen Lane, 2021; 256pp; £20

Bob Matthews was an American bomb aimer in WWII. He hit the largest air raid shelter in Kassel, Germany and killed hundreds of civilians. He said, 'I was so distraught that I stayed drunk for nine days and was the sickest drunk in the air force.'   A member of my church, I met him 50 years later and we talked several times. In the end he wrote out his story for me. A humble, family man, he was still deeply struggling with the guilt and shame of what he had participated in. He suffered ‘moral…

6 July 2021Review

London: Bloomsbury, 2020; 463pp; £8.99

The Israel-Palestine conflict reminds me of tribal Northern Ireland, segregation in the southern US states, and apartheid in South Africa. These comparisons also make me hopeful – to some degree justice has come in all these places.

Israel is the land of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Micah and Jesus. It is the Holy Land for Jews, Christians and Muslims with holy potential for peace, shalomsalaam. It is also the place where my wife, Jewell, and I were engaged, so Israel/…

4 July 2021Review

Pax Christi International, 2020; 324pp; £20.50

Early on in WWII my dad, already in uniform, went to the Catholic army chaplain, troubled about being a soldier. Was it right for him to participate in the war?

He was single, still living at home when war came. The Catholic chaplain assured my dad that he was fighting in a just war. For a while Dad was okay, but then he asked himself this question: ‘Are German Catholic army chaplains telling German Catholic soldiers that this was an unjust war and that they should not fight?’…

4 July 2021Review

Francis Boutle, 2020; 560pp; £30

The First World War was the first mechanised, industrialised, chemicalised war and the founding catastrophe of the 20th century. It led to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the rise of Hitler and the Second World War, the Cold War, and much more. 

Conscientious objectors (COs) have been called the shock troops of dissent in the First World War, and they were on the right side of history. 

Cyril Pearce’s magnificent new book about the men who refused to fight on grounds of…

28 October 2020Blog

Andrew Bolton reviews Clare Stober's book about the Bruderhof: 'Another Life is Possible – Insights from 100 years of life together' (Plough Books, 2020; 320pp; £21.50)

There are activists seeking change nonviolently, protesting, getting in the way, being arrested. From Gandhi and Rosa Parks to Extinction Rebellion, we celebrate their courageous contributions. Then there are communal demonstrators, those whose lives together model a better world here and now. Both activists and communal demonstrators are important. This book is about the Bruderhof, a celebration of struggles and endurance over 100 years of a remarkable communal movement. Today…