Nan Green (1904 – 1984) dedicated her life to what she identified as the cause of humanity. Born in Nottingham and brought up in Beeston and Birmingham, she grew into adulthood witnessing the achievements of the suffragettes, First World War rationing, the rise of Labour in the 1920s and the Depression – a period during which she firstly rebelled against her family and then its conservative politics. She also became increasingly politically active, first within the Labour movement, then within the Communist Party. During this period she married a fellow activist, became a mother and then, unconventionally, followed her husband to Spain to join the Republican cause. Her husband died in action on the very last day that the International Brigades fought the fascists, and Nan Green returned to the United Kingdom to take up her campaigning for the Republican cause and its refugees during World War Two. After the war she became involved in Communist activities within the Peace Movement. Her Party work eventually took her to China as a translator from where, after a brief visit to apartheid South Africa, she returned to the United Kingdom and continuing work for the veterans of the Spanish International Brigades and other socialist causes.Nan Green’s memoirs simply but eloquently trace this political and geographical pilgrimage, with its constant campaigning, activism, and the dilemmas these posed, as the Communist movement adjusted to the shocks of the Hitler-Stalin pact, the Soviet Russian show trials and other excesses, and the transformative convolutions of Chinese communism under Mao Tse-tung. A Chronicle of Small Beer is a moving tale of her continuing commitment in the face of the very different kinds of adversity and fulfilment that she experienced.
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