If only John Charnley had avoided politics his life would have been far easier. But in the 1930s young men like Charnley considered standing on the sidelines an act of cowardice. Hunger stalked the back streets of Britain and the slow drift towards another world war that would cost 50-million lives had already begun. Charnley could still have led an easy life and risen high in the ranks of respectability if he had chosen more conventional outlets for his political protest. But the chance reading of Oswald Mosley's dramatic resignation speech from the Labour Government and a fateful encounter with a street newspaper seller combined to propel him along dangerous and unorthodox paths. He became one of Mosley's Blackshirts and after many hair-raising adventures spent part of the war he sought to avert behind the barbed wire of a British political prison camp. What might have urged caution in other men only drove Charnley on further: after the war he rallied to Mosley's standard once again. He was back with a vengeance.
Towards the end of his days, John Charnley looked back and described it all, both the good and the bad, for his hatred of hypocrisy would allow no whitewash of what he considered to be his own shortcomings. In this book he tells us the inside story of life in the Mosley Movement and of his comrades and companions – men and women still shrouded in mystery after more than half a century – a swashbuckling company of political mutineers engaged in a 'revolt against destiny'. Most of the events in Charnley's turbulent career took place in his homelands of Yorkshire and Lancashire. But for him life was to be no bed of roses.