Mozart is often thought of as the most unpolitical of composers. But his works embody the rational values of the Enlightenment, and his involvement with Freemasonry was a political commitment in itself. Keep politics out of music? It can't be done.
The author places Shakespeare firmly in his own time, and so makes him belong even more to our time. His Shakespeare is disturbed, demanding, angry, astonishingly radical and human enough to even to sometimes be frightened.
The author custs away all the romantic and reactionary drivel written about Blake and reveals him as a prophet of liberation, political, artistic and sexual liberation. She sets him in his time as a creature of the French revolutionary fervour.
The author uncovers the hidden side of Sinatra, a man who spoke out against racism and injustice, a man whom the FBI wanted to nail as a communist and a man who raised money for Martin Luther King's struggle for black civil rights.
The author shows that the socialism of Morris grew out of his view of the past and his hatred for industrial capitalism and the ravages it brought. Imperialism, war, destruction of the environment and above all the enslavement of human labour to the machine. This apalled him and in the last decades of his life he threw all his energy into a struggle to change the world.
Revolutionary Potraits is a collection of works that examine the relationship between individual artists and larger historical forces, how each shapes and influences the other. All the books aim to lead the reader back to these works of art and music with new eyes and ears, and a deeper understanding of how art can raise the human spirit and act as a catalyst for change.