10 JULY 1936, Page 34


By Fred Bower Mr. Fred Bower was born in America in 1871, of English parents. His father was a stonemason and a socialist, and the author followed in his footsteps. The family moved to Liverpool, and there he spent his early days learning to cut stone and to propound trade-unionism. Being of a roving disposition he took to the road as a journeyman mason, travelling the length and breadth of England many times, with spells in America and Canada. After his " conversion " to socialism, he devoted more and more time to political work, organising strikes and speaking at street corners. He knew all the great leaders of those days, and was election agent for Jim Larkin in the 1906 elections. But his restlessness seems to have prevented him adopting politics as a career, and now he lives in a but he has built for himself in Cheshire—still a journeyman mason. His autobiography, Rolling Stonemason (Cape, 7s. 6d.), written in his spare time, and " discovered " by Mr. John Brophy, is a genuine piece of natural writing. It is too sentimental to rank with the masterpieces of Private Frank Richards, but Mr. Bower has a definite flair for telling a story, and the varied life he has led makes this a thoroughly enjoyable book.