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Grassroots exceptionalism in humanitarian memoir

Memoir has for some time played a significant role in the expansion and interpretation of the humanitarian industry. It was Henri Dunant’s 1862 memoir A Memory of Solferino that made the case for the first global institutionalisation of humanitarian work in the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and Geneva Convention, and Moritz Thomsen’s 1969 memoir Living Poor

in Global humanitarianism and media culture

profiles. Also in this section, we discuss the memoir of Mario Magri, whose Rocambolesque adventures push to the extreme the dramatic potential of the flight attempts by his contemporaries, Lussu, Rosselli and Nitti. We organise the remainder of the discussion around writers who don’t conform to the standard models, whether of the dramatic ‘escape from Lipari’ variety or the more prosaic handcuffs, train ride, and surveillance variety. These authors resist the received wisdom according to which Lussu, Nitti, and Rosselli teach us all we need to know about internal

in Internal exile in Fascist Italy

, foster parents or institutions. This phenomenon dates from approximately the early 1990s with the best-selling memoir A Child Called ‘It’ by Dave Pelzer published in 1995 cited as the trend-setter, although the 1992 work Wild Swans by Jung Chang is sometimes considered an example of ‘misery lit’. Three features of these books are worthy of note here. First, as with ‘confessional’ television, they originated in the USA and spread to the UK and Ireland and thus seem to be significant in, if not exclusive to, AngloAmerican culture. Second, they proved very popular. In

in States of apology
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, 1957–63 (Cambridge, 2016) p. 376. 16 T. Dunne, Rebellions: Memoir, Memory and 1798 (Dublin, 2004) p. 55. 17 J.M. Regan, Myth and the Irish State (Dublin, 2013). 18 D. Ferriter, Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s (London, 2012). E. Sweeney, Down, Down, Deeper and Down: Ireland in the 70s and 80s (Dublin, 2010). 19 Ferriter, Ambiguous, p. 2. 20 For the Women’s movement, see L. Connolly and T. O’Toole, Documenting Irish Feminisms: The Second Wave (Dublin, 2005) pp. 25–45. For the GAA, see M. Reynolds, ‘The Gaelic Athletic Association and the 1981 H

in The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland, 1968–79
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, though many more are still retained and a far greater number have simply been destroyed. 01_Charmian_Introduction.indd 4 9/3/2013 1:03:57 PM MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 09/03/2013, SPi Introduction 5 Notes 1 The terms ‘MI5’ and ‘Security Service’ are used throughout as mutually interchangeable. 2 Bernard Ingham, former chief press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, on the publication of Stella Rimington’s memoir Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5, London: Hutchinson 2001. 3 Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized

in A matter of intelligence
The case of Klaus Fuchs

forbidden during the war years. Sonya’s Report, written long after the events it portrays, has the pace and mystery of a John le Carré thriller, if little of its literary style.16 It tells the remarkable story of a dedicated Soviet spy, often operating under the noses of the authorities. Her memoir is occasionally disingenuous. She claims, for example, that she was no more than an insignificant cog in the wheel; she was of course the pivot of the whole espionage chain. Her first meeting with Klaus Fuchs was probably arranged through her brother Jürgen – who then distanced

in A matter of intelligence
The case of Engelbert Broda

this book was reviewed in The Times under the startling heading ‘The Spy Who Started the Cold War’.4 Then in 2011, Engelbert’s son Paul Broda published a memoir that combined personal and family recollections with material from his father’s MI5 file, as well as those kept on his mother Hilde and the man who became his stepfather, the convicted atom spy, Alan Nunn May. The involvement of Engelbert Broda in scientific espionage at the highest level while in Britain appears to be beyond doubt; how did he, unlike the British scientist Nunn May, unlike the refugee Klaus

in A matter of intelligence

.M. Arkin and W. Burr, ‘Where they were’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 55 (6), November–December 1999, p. 27. 43 Mirgon memoir, p. 16. 44 Records of HQ USAF (Air staff) incoming and outgoing messages, 22 July 1950, NARA, RG 341, top secret box 22. 45 Mirgon memoir, p. 17. 46 Norstad to Johnson, 12 July 1950, LoC, Vandenberg papers, Box 86. 47 Defence Threat Reduction Agency, Defence’s nuclear agency 1947–1997, Washington, DC, 2002. 48 Mirgon memoir, pp. 18–20. 49 W. Barton Leach, Special Consultant to the Secretary of the Air Force, to Secretary Finletter, 21

in The American bomb in Britain
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Keeping watch on the Communists

as an agent of Soviet military intelligence (GRU), under the code name ‘Sonya’, a decade she described over thirty years later in the memoir Sonya’s Report.9 Initially recruited during a visit to Moscow with her first husband Rudolf Hamburger, ‘Sonya’ had been inducted into the ways of Soviet intelligence at the Lenin School in Moscow, a training ground reserved for elite party cadres. She was also trained as a wireless operator, a skill she used regularly to transmit messages to her controllers, known as Moscow Centre. ‘Sonya’ had initially been sent to Shanghai

in A matter of intelligence

anthem, ‘The soldier’s song’, as well as ‘Step together’ and ‘The green flag’. Popular Irish-Ireland poet Brian O’Higgins even composed a marching song for the Fianna, which was published in Irish Freedom . 37 Once the Fianna reached their destination, members lit fires, brewed tea and ate an open-air meal. Then they spent the next few hours engaged in scouting exercises or climbing mountains. The sights and sounds of the return journey inspired Prendergast to wax lyrical in his memoir: ‘It was … romance to the soul marching down the

in Na Fianna Éireann and the Irish Revolution, 1909–23