Although In Ludd's Name is set in the first decades of the nineteenth century it will strike a chord with many people today. Changing fashions and technology were having a disproportionate impact on the livelihoods of working people.
David Field's book, In Ludd's Name, is the saga of the Slacks, a Nottingham family, as the different generations struggle with changing working and political challenges. Historically rich the story captures the mood and atmosphere of nineteenth century Nottingham. The Slack family are honest and hardworking and despite working for one of the city's better employers they cannot escape the industrial and political turmoil of the Industrial Revolution. They struggle to make ends meet as technology and changing fashion drive down prices and demand for hosiery, and with a consequent reduction in wages.
Like the other titles on Arundel Books' list the history is accurate, detailed and brought alive by strong characterisation and storytelling. It will be a hard-hearted reader who is not moved by the Slack's tribulations. Unfortunately one suspects it was all too true for many families in Nottingham in the early 1800s. It was a time of major change as the Industrial Revolution picked up speed.
Indeed many aspects of work in the early twenty-first century seem to be presaged by the consequences of the Industrial Revolution. Today's "gig" economy seems to mirror many of the same problems of that time. That said there is now more of a safety net with accessible health care, minimum wages and social security; even if it may feel inadequate at least there is something. But in the time of In Ludd's Name there was essentially nothing at all.
The human and social impact of those times are brought out by In Ludd's Name and will draw the reader into the story. It will be difficult for the reader to not feel sympathy for the Slack family as they face challenges not of their own making with little support. They are people who you would wish well. THis story is a good read that beings a difficult period of history alive.
In Ludd's Name by David Field (paperback, Arundel Books, 2016, first published in Australia by Zeus Publications, 2013). ISBN: 9780955813375.