Wednesday, 3 June 2020
The Siege of Sidney Street - Frederick Oughton
Odd, though, that people should want a novel when the siege was a real event, only 50 years old at the time so well within living memory, and already the subject of many non-fiction books. The story is an absolute cracker - armed police and infantrymen exchanging gunfire with a small band of anarchists, already wanted for murder, holed up in a derelict tenement. Crowds came to watch as, famously, did the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill. Indeed, Churchill's presence is likely one of the reasons that not absolutely everyone today knows about the Siege; certain elements would prefer we forget Churchill's penchant for shooting militants - and miners. Oughton - and I presume Sangster - hold back Churchill's arrival to the very last chapter, so naturally it is not an issue. The story is extremely well done, opening up the complex background through character interaction. The dialogue is effective and I noted that Oughton was very good at establishing location.
I haven't seen the film - I have no idea why the chap on the front, presumably Kieron Moore, is wearing a light-grey suit at least a decade out of period - but I absolutely devoured the book.