3 out of 5 stars

History may be written by the victors, but it is made by people from all walks of life. Who these people are is often overlooked in the grander history books, but thankfully we have authors like David Bramwell & Jo Keeling who are prepared to poke around in the dustier areas of our past and tell the stories of those that have made their mark in one way or other.

They have split the characters in this book into five different sections, the first is Tricksters & Subversives, Creative Mavericks, Wild at Heart, Pioneers & Inventors and Explorers of the mind. In each part, there are around ten different people that they have found and are telling the story of.

There are a few that stood out for me. W Reginald Bray was one, who in the pursuit of his art, posted anything and everything that he could get in a letterbox. Quentin Crisp who was camp and gay at a time when it was illegal to be, and Alfred Wallace Russell who worked out evolution at the same time as Darwin and is buried just down the road from me in Broadstone. Two particular favourites are Flora Tristan who stood up for injustice before anyone else and Joseph Campbell who took a huge pile of books to a shack in Woodstock and spent four years reading them.

If you want a history book that looks at the people who often go against the flow and you almost certainly haven’t heard of, then this is a good place to start.

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