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Remembering Colin Ward 1924–2010

Five Leaves Publications paperback; £5; available from Housmans and Freedom bookshops or post-free from Five Leaves, PO Box 8786, Nottingham NG1 9AW

This is a marvellous book about a marvellous man and it’s full of marvels. Remembering Colin Ward comprises transcripts of his friends’ tributes at his funeral – which various PN stalwarts attended – and his memorial meeting in Conway Hall four months later.

In fact, it amounts to a biography in just 50 pages and it makes you wonder at the hundreds of pages spent on lesser beings. To quote from its introductory note: “Colin Ward was an anarchist, a journalist, and an author of books on architecture, work, childhood, education, social history, the environment, and many other topics of importance to those who seek a better world.”

Harriet Ward’s contribution, “Meeting Colin in the sixties,” is worth the price of the book alone. It tells of her life with Colin from first meeting to final departure and is written with verve and sentiment but without sentimentality.

I love her last sentence: “For me, the sixties was the beginning of a wonderfully happy companionship – I use the anarchist word for it – that ended earlier this year. I count myself lucky indeed to have spent 45 years in Colin’s company.”

Countless thousands of readers have been lucky to have spent 45 years – or more – in Colin’s company too. Once you’d read one of his books, you wanted to read all his others.

This book is one Colin would have approved of in principle. Published by a small, independent, radical publisher who has gone up against the greedy publishing cartels and succeeded by following the examples cited by Colin in his inspirational and much-loved book Anarchy in Action (Freedom Press).

More than that, Five Leaves has re-published a number of Colin’s many books and also published his new works. They couldn’t be in better hands and this little book can hardly be bettered.