Berdichev to Basildon
by Eric Moonman

"I believed I could make a difference to the way life was lived and my knowledge of working class life could be of value to the Labour Party..."

This witty memoir by a former British Member of Parliament (MP) is an inspirational name-dropper. How many commoners―son of an illiterate Russian Jewish immigrant from Berdichev―went on to learn about Parliament directly from Harold Wilson, shared a charity lead with Princess Diana as a benefactor, and met with both Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat and Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? How did this happen?

At the turn of the century, the strong Moonman patriarch arrived in Liverpool and married a Lithuanian woman. Together, they built a successful business of milk delivery by pushcart, serving mostly the local Jewish community. The author, son of these industrious immigrants, had a knack for writing―from editing the school magazine to being a long-term apprentice for a newspaper. Always interested in learning, especially about politics, Moonman took a class in economics and helped start a young printers group whose intent was political. In the 1950s, the author left employment to pursue a university career with eyes on Parliament. First elected as a Labour councillor, he won a PM seat for Billericay in 1966-1970. He later won the PM seat for the Basildon constituency from 1974-1979. In and out of office over the years while the Labour party strengthened their support, Moonman offered his leadership skills intermittently to the National Health Service and other charitable ventures. He volunteered to help in Greece, India, Namibia, and Israel.

The author has written several widely-read books which document his varied interests in alternative government, terrorism, and racism including anti-Semitic groups. British and American readers alike will appreciate this well-written memoir told with levity and deference―a history worth sharing with friends, politically-inclined or not.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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