Sidmouth author praised by Tony Benn

KNOWN for his award-winning guide Living Without Cruelty, Sidmouth author Mark Gold has ventured into the world of fiction for his latest book Cranks and Revolutions.

KNOWN for his award-winning guide Living Without Cruelty, Sidmouth author Mark Gold has ventured into the world of fiction for his latest book Cranks and Revolutions.

Two brothers, Rob and Tom Moore, are born into a family where protesting is a way of life.

Bob Dylan inspired Rob, joins the hippy brigade of the 1960s, CND marches, fundraises for the Nigeria-Biafra civil war and rescues oiled seabirds, but following university campaigns against the Vietnam War and apartheid, he marries and settles into having a career and children.

It is Tom Mark relates more to: the campaigner, who not only gets involved in major issues of the day, but takes a job with an animal rights organisation and sets about convincing the world to become 'peace-loving vegans'.

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"I would describe it as equal to a drama documentary. There are a lot of factual passages and drama attached," said Mark, who for years worked in animal welfare through Animal Aid and is still involved now.

Mark, 56 who lives in Fortescue Road with animal rights campaigner Sharon Howe, turned to Merlin Press, who published his first book, Assault and Battery, in 1983, which exposed the world of factory farming, to produce his novel.

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He agrees the novel draws on his own experiences.

"When I was at York University I wasn't involved in much but I was interested in politics and sided with the underdog," said Mark, who like Sharon is a vegetarian.

He joined CND marchers and took food to the women at Greenham Common.

"I wanted to deal with the history but also the faults and limitations of individual people. It is set in a world that I knew and it is an important part of British history.

"I am against fundamentalism and a key bit in the book is saying really it's just ignorance. That is one of the most important messages I try to put over.

"It is really important for people to have a cause, but if you can't see outside that cause all manner of problems follow.

"I want people to think about the overall message about non-violence to people, the environment and to animals. All my books say that in different ways, but this one is much more entertaining."

Mark, who can't imagine not writing, does editing work, supports and works for Citizens Advice in Honiton as well as his Animal Aid work.

He is pleased with the quirky, amusing events and characters he has created, such as the zealous vegan Septimus the Severe and Marxist Aunt Helen.

Certainly Mark manages to move the story along well and, even to a non-activist, it is a good read with plenty of facts to absorb along the way.

Having sent a copy to Tony Benn, who was in the thick of politics during the period he writes of, Mark received the following testament from him:

"Mark Gold charts the important campaigns of the past 50 years with great humour and irony in his novel. It is a reminder also to the post-war generation that the issues on which we fought were first ignored, then considered mad, then dangerous, and after a pause adopted as conventional wisdom."

*Cranks and Revolutions is in stock, priced �9.95 at Paragon Books, Sidmouth.

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