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.
"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)
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Harry's last stand
- John Adams
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.
- Mary Hassan