Granny Made Me An Anarchist
General Franco, the Angry Brigade, and Me
By Stuart Christie
In 1964, a fresh-faced, eighteen-year-old Glaswegian named Stuart Christie became the most famous anarchist in Britain. He was arrested delivering dynamite to Madrid to be used in the assassination of Spanish dictator General Franco. After serving three of his twenty-year sentence, he was released, due to international pressure from supporters like Bertrand Russell and Jean Paul Sartre. Eight years later, he was arrested again in England on suspicion of membership in the Angry Brigade—an armed group hell-bent on overthrowing the government—but was this time acquitted. Christie’s warm and witty memoir, from the tough streets of post-World War II Glasgow to the heady ideals of the Generation of ’68, reads like a cloak-and-dagger political thriller.
Granny Made Me an Anarchist chronicles clandestine political maneuverings, life behind bars, and flirtations with radical youth who were convinced the government could be toppled and their country made anew. Avoiding the self-centered trappings of many 1960s memoirs, Christie’s lamentations shine light into the darkness and illuminate the human soul.
In 1964, at the age of 18, Stuart Christie was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his attempted assasination of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. He served just 3 years and returned to the UK where he was later arrested for suspected involvement with the Angry Brigade. Hewas a founder of the Anarchist Black Cross, Black Flag magazine, and Cienfuegos Press.
"Stuart Christie is the rarest of revolutionaries—a committed freedom fighter and a gentle warrior who can also spin a cracking good yarn. From the working class streets of Glasgow as a wee lad to the gaols of fascist Spain as an 18-year-old anarchist, Christie draws his readers into the thick of things, on the move and on the run. The result is a compelling portrait of both a man and a time.
"Granny Made Me an Anarchist picks up where George Orwell left off, in London and Paris and in the fight against fascism. Like Orwell, Christie's engagements and commitments never overshadow his ongoing search for justice. We feel the thud of the police stick and the searing pain of the interrogation cell, but also the exhilaration of choosing to lead a moral life in a world gone mad, and the power of pursuing a politics based on human freedom rather than power or parties. For anyone troubled by the sorry state of things and searching for her or his own moral compass in the mud and muck of the world as we find it, this is essential reading."—Bill Ayers, author of Fugitive Days: A Memoir
Stuart Christie became Britain's most famous anarchist in 1964 when he was arrested for smuggling explosives in a plot to assassinate Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco. Charged with "Banditry and Terrorism," he served three years of his twenty-year sentence before international pressure (from Bertrand Russell and Jean Paul Sartre among many others), as well as a note from his Mum, secured his release. Five years later, he stood trial in London for alleged involvement with Britain's Angry Brigade, an urban guerilla group, but was this time acquitted. He is the cofounder of Anarchist Black Cross, Black Flag magazine, and Cienfuegos Press. He currently publishes and distributes books and films through Christie Books.
“Stuart Christie’s anarchist activities and brushes with the law make the Sex Pistols look like choir boys.”—Sunday Express
“A fascinating personal account . . . a remarkable picture of the late twentieth century, seen through sensitive eyes and interpreted by a compassionate, searching soul.”—Noam Chomsky
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