David Hewitt at Central Library

On #WorldBookNight we’re lucky enough to have author, David Hewitt coming in to talk about his gripping biography, Joseph, 1917.

Hewitt’s book is the ‘secret history’ of Joseph Blackburn, a man who didn’t want to go to war – but was forced to. Set in Thornton Cleveleys, this compelling read explores the moral and legal complexities of Joseph’s story. Using the original source material of newspaper articles and legal records, Hewitt has written a thrilling and thought provoking account.

Author David tell us – “The man who is the subject of my book – the Joseph of the title – didn’t want to go to war. Yet, he had at one time volunteered for military service and he died, not blindfolded in the half-light of some desolate market-square, but in the dust and confusion of the Western Front. He wasn’t a conscientious objector, but neither was he garlanded with battle-honours. He resembles none of our burnished architypes and he isn’t the sort of man books are normally written about. So this is very much a ‘secret history’ “

Joseph’s fate was decided at a special tribunal – a setting David, who is himself a tribunal judge, is very familiar with. Drawing on legal records and vibrant newspaper reports of the time, Joseph, 1917 raises an interesting question – if you put a man in harm’s way and then realised you made a mistake, shouldn’t you at least try and make amends?

We can’t wait to meet him and find out more about this fascinating local story!



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