As one of the last remaining survivors of the Great Depression and the Second World War, I will not go gently into that good night. I want to tell you what the world looks like through my eyes, so you can help change it....
In November 2013, 91-year-old Yorkshireman, RAF veteran, and ex-carpet salesman Harry Leslie Smith's Guardian article - "This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time" - was shared almost 60,000 times on Facebook and started a huge debate about the state of society.
Now he brings his unique perspective to bear on NHS cutbacks, benefits policy, political corruption, food poverty, the cost of education - and much more. From the deprivation of 1930s Barnsley and the terror of war to the creation of our welfare state, Harry has experienced how a great civilisation can rise from the rubble. But at the end of his life, he fears how easily it is being eroded.
Harry's Last Stand is a lyrical, searing modern invective that shows what the past can teach us and how the future is ours for the taking.
©2014 Harry Leslie Smith (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
"A kind of epic poem, one that moves in circular fashion from passionate denunciation to intense autobiographical reflection...should be required reading for every MP, peer, councillor, civil servant and commentator. The fury and sense of powerlessness that so many people feel at government policy beam out of every page." (Melissa Benn, Guardian)
"Smith's unwavering will to turn things around makes for inspirational reading." (Big Issue North)
"Mr Smith's is a rousing, earthy writing that's part Tony Harrison, part Dennis Skinner." (NudgeMeNow.com)
"This hymn of wrath against the toxic nexus of money and power in austerity UK from a Bradford pauper's son, excommunicated from the Catholic church for marrying an 'enemy' woman in post-war Germany, is a compelling life-verdict." (Paul Routledge, The Tablet)
This book should be required reading in schools and colleges. There soon will not be anyone left who remembers Great Britain before the welfare state and the NHS and can warn of the consequences if we allow it to be swept away. Heaven forbid their sacrifice and efforts should be destroyed for the dogma of austerity and privatisation.
I could listen to this a hundred times.
It was so personal and the intimate details of his life gave context to the opinions he was expressing. The emotional element made the information really stick. I'd love to know Harry.
I am so glad I discovered this book. Such a privilege to be able to benefit from Harry's wisdom and experience! For a unique perspective of society from one of the last remaining members of that bygone generation, this is a must read!
Harry is an inspiration I met him at a labour conference his book was like listening to him all over again
I am so glad I've listened
I throughly enjoyed this book. Such a remarkable insight into not only today's society but also that of previous generations. Harry tell us his story and gives us his opinions with honesty and integrity and never once is he derogatory. He has many lessons we can learn as a society, just hope that we listen and take notice.
Would highly recommend this book to anyone. I also intend to get a copy for my teenage daughter to read as well.
Very good book if very haunting about the mistake we are making as a "civilised" world.
Thank you harry for writing this book.
From the very first sentence this book had me gripped. I have followed Harry on twitter for a long time now and so was delighted to find this book in Audible. He takes us on a heart wrenching, inspiring emotional rollercoaster and is without doubt one of the best books I have read in my life (and I am a big reader, or at least used to be before I had a small energetic child to entertain) . I left the book in tears, for his life, his loves and his departing paragraphs. Tears of joy, for his beautiful depictions of life, and tears of sadness that he is not Prime Minister. He has made me laugh and cry, feel sadness, rage and indignation for the state of our country. Even more than were my intentions before, I will do what I can to do what I must to fight this destruction of the welfare state that he and his generation fought hard to get. As best I can, whilst living below the poverty line that is.
a fantastic, eye opening read that teaches about the world today through a first hand account of a time and place in this country that has been wrongly forgotten and ignored, brilliantly written by someone who has the vitality of a 20-something activist, despite being in his 10th decade of life.
I listened to this in one hit (on a long drive). Harry has certainly not lost his marbles for a 91 year old and has lived through very hard times (and good) . He has a good grasp of how the system works. Worth a listen or read.
its in the headline?
no so don't know
probably not enough people care to read it
"Society today and past"
provides a very good understanding of todays socal problems and how we can change them.
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