The Battle of Cable Street

By Tanya Landman (Barrington Stoke)

The Battle of Cable Street

Review by Thomas
The Battle of Cable street by Tanya Landman is a fictional story of a young girl named Ellie who lives in near poverty in a crowded block of flats and is exposed to the violent world of racism.

I found the character of Nathan Cohen interesting because he leads the children of the flats in games around the neighbourhood but when he turns 15 he goes to work and later joins an anti-fascist movement.

Oswald Mosley is portrayed as the villain through his beliefs and attempts to seize power. He organises the march through Cable street to demoralise the ethnic minorities. I learnt a lot about the violence that was tolerated by the common public towards the smaller groups. The plot is reasonably light-hearted but has very serious undertones about racism and imperialism.

I would recommend it to students Year 8-Year 12, it is very educational and tells an important story of fascism in England. 

Review by Marie
What I like the most about this book is its simplicity. It doesn’t complicate things to the point no child could possibly understand, but it doesn’t act like children are not capable of grasping ideas and of understanding history. This book is simple, yet still well-written and interesting. It does its job incredibly.

Before reading this book, I had never heard of The Battle Of Cable Street, though my historical knowledge has now expanded. Landman presents the history behind the battle in a thought-out way, carefully exploring the events that took place in detail, with facts and figures perfectly fitted so as to add to the story without seeming like an information dump. Elsie’s fictional account of the events that took place is wonderful to read, and powerful, and emphasises the idea of unity against the common enemy. It makes me sick to think of the sort of things that Mosley supporters did, simply because of misplaced hate, and prejudice, and due to being manipulated through Mosley’s speeches into supporting something many of them didn’t properly consider. This should never have happened, and it most certainly should not be happening still today.

The characters in this book are quite split ; some are well-crafted, but some fall flat. I think characters could have better been developed if the book had been slightly longer, though I do think that for children’s historical fiction, character development sometimes isn’t as important as the plot line. Of course, the characters have to fit into their time period, though for books like this, not a great deal more is necessary. Personally, I find Nathan to be the most interesting and well-developed character of the book. He is connectable, enjoyable to explore on the page, and adds a layer of depth to the story. One particular moment from the fourth chapter stood out to me, involving an autograph. Somehow, this moment makes Nathan feel incredibly real, and human, and that continues throughout the book.

The story itself was incredibly compelling, and I am shocked this was the first I’d heard of the battle. I am desperate to learn more, and I plan to read more about the Battle of Cable Street in the future.

Overall, I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to, and if I knew anyone in the target age-range, I would most likely recommend it to them.  

Review by Isabella 
The book I read for the young quills competition is titled the battle of cable street and it focuses on an eleven year old girl called Elsie and it talks about politicians from around 1934 and how it affected children like Elsie who was poor and Jewish. The book follows her and some of the things she does and how political views affect her family and the families who live in the paradise with her. The book is amazing and really interesting, it's written from Elsie's perspective, as though she is retelling stories of her childhood. One of the most interesting parts of the story begins in chapter 12 where Elsie and her brother Mikey take part in a competition to win tickets for Oswald Moseley's speech, this part then goes on to talk about what attending the speech was like with mentions of protestors. This book is by far the best book I have read since it shows the power that normal people can have when they work together.

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