A Towering Flame: The Life & Times of the Elusive Latvian Anarchist Peter the Painter
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The Houndsditch murders of three City of London policemen in 1910 and the ensuing “Siege of Sidney Street”, in which Latvian anarchists took on Winston Churchill and the British Army, have entered into East London folklore. But no-one ever accounted for the mysterious Peter the Painter, popularly supposed to be the leader of the gang and to have escaped the burning house during the battle.
This book solves the mystery. Here for the first time is proof of the real identity of Peter the Painter; the amazing story of his life and revolutionary career; and of the hitherto unknown history of Latvian anarchism. The violent events in London are revealed to be part of a much bigger story which lay behind them — the 1905 revolution in the Baltic and the armed resistance to Russian state terrorism which followed it. This is a story of class war, revolution and survival; and of a small nation striving to assert its identity; a story that, in the context of a resurgence of Russian imperial ambition aimed at the Baltic states, has particular resonance today.