ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – First in the Fight by Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock @inostalgiauk @LoveBooksGroup #BlogTour

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for First in the Fight. You can read my thoughts below. My thanks to Kelly Lacey from Love Books Tours for the place on the tour and to iNostalgia Publishing for sending me a copy of this gorgeous book for review purposes.


Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter’s Square, but she stands for so many more…

First in the Fight tells the compelling stories of the twenty women featured on the Our Emmeline statue long-list. Author Helen Antrobus brings to life the achievements of these radical Manchester women alongside beautiful illustrations by the Women in Print collective.

Be part of the legacy of the 20 Manchester women who changed the world.

The women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. The unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square, strove to represent the contributions that Manchester women had made not only to the city, but also to the rest of the world.

Sitting alongside stunning illustrations from the ‘Women in Print’ collective, First in the Fight brings to life the stories of a range of inspiring women, from suffragettes, to botanists and mathematicians. The efforts of these pioneering women have shaped the world we live in and have helped pave the way for the voices of the next generation of women to be heard.

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First of all, this is a gorgeous book to behold. It’s a large and sturdy paperback with an attractive and bold cover, and the pages inside are glossy.

First in the Fight is a tribute to Manchester and twenty of their women who achieved something life-changing. The book came about because of a campaign for a statue of an extraordinary woman (Emmeline Pankhurst was chosen) during 2018, the centenary year of women being given the vote.

There are some women in this book that I had heard of and some that I hadn’t but what links them all is their legacy, their contribution to the feminist cause. The Pankhursts feature strongly of course and Marie Stopes, but how about Emily Williamson who founded the RSPB in 1889 or Margaret Downes who died at the Battle of Peterloo. There are detailed biographies of each of the women along with the most beautiful, vibrant illustrations.

There’s also a section about how the statue came about and its commission and installation in St Peter’s Square which was so interesting to read.

First in the Fight is an uplifting book about women’s achievements and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s ideal for anyone who enjoys social history.



Helen Antrobus is a social history curator and historian from Manchester, specialising in the lives of 20th Century political women. As a public historian she has appeared on programmes such as the One Show, Who Do You Think You Are, Edwardian Britain in Colour, Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, as well as BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings and Great Lives. Andrew Simcock has been the Labour Councillor for Didsbury East on Manchester City Council since 2011. In 2014 he launched the WoManchester campaign to erect a statue of a woman of significance to Manchester, which resulted in the installation of Hazel Reeves’ Emmeline Pankhurst statue in St. Peter’s Square. The unveiling coincided with the 100th anniversary of some women voting for the first time in the British General Election.

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