Philip Ruff – A Towering Flame

The Life & Times of the Elusive Latvian Anarchist Peter the Painter

cover of A Towering Flame unavailable

 hardback  156x234mm
ISBN 978-0-9929466-8-5

Forthcoming in 2019

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.
Prologue: The Houndsditch Murders. Dramatic reconstruction
1. 1883 to January 1905. A painter and artist, or dauber
2. January to September 1905. The times of the Land Surveyor
3. October to December 1905. A rough school
4. January to March 1906. Dare to be Daniel
5. April to December 1906. The same, in word and deed
6. 1907 to 1909. Broken Pines
7. 1897 to 1908. Foreigners, anarchists and vegetarians
8. January to October 1909. Alien robbers run amok
9. October 1909 to December 1910. The Flame
10. January 1911 to December 1912. Retribution
11. 1911 to 1917. Life after Sidney Street
12. 1917 to 1939. No time for dreams
13. 1912 to 2012. The man who was away