Sylvia pankhurst: natural born rebel
rachel holmesA definitive biography of Sylvia Pankhurst, lifelong political rebel and human-rights champion, published a century after the first British women got the vote
Sylvia Pankhurst's early years as one of the three key leaders of the suffragette movement developed into a lifetime's feminist work for reproductive rights, equal pay, access to welfare and education, and freedom of sexual expression. Starting out as an Edwardian suffragette, Sylvia Pankhurst became a modern radical feminist.
Seen as 'wild', even by the standards of her suffragette family, she lived a political life that included trade unionism, Irish republicanism, Pan-Africanism, pacifism and fighting racism in Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the USA and colonial Africa - where she was dubbed the first white Rastafarian. And she wrote about it all, prolifically. She spent her life in dialogue, dispute, collision and resolution with Churchill, Trotsky, Lenin, Kenyatta, Selassie, Rama Rau and Keir Hardie, among others.
Sylvia was the suffragette who converted her experiences of torture, imprisonment and multiple forms of external physical violence into a lifelong quest to champion human rights. In this enthralling biography, Rachel Holmes interweaves Sylvia's rebellious political life with her private life to show how her astonishing career, long overlooked by historians, continues to resonate today.