Eddie the Kid

Eddie the Kid

Eddie Bereskin wants to change the world and stop the war, instead his life unravels after being arrested on a protest.


Eddie Bereskin wants to change the world and stop the war, instead his life unravels after he is arrested on a Halloween protest in 2002. An incredible story about loss and hope set in London, Eddie the Kid takes us to the anti-war movement and two generations of activists, where, amid rioting and arrests, the destinies of Eddie and his sister Esther have been shaped.


Academic and writer Leo Zeilig begins his first novel at the gates of Downing Street. It's late 2002, and activist Eddie Bereskin is borne on shoulders, megaphone in hand, calling Tony Blair a murderer and ordering the crowd to break the police barricade. He is arrested and charged, and as the movements for and against war in Iraq gather steam, falls into a feverish relationship with Rebecca, a beautiful fellow protester, and waits for his court case. Zeilig's sympathy for Eddie's convictions is clear, but he isn't afraid to mock Eddie's flamboyant solicitor (who wants to "rip the fucking head off the global bourgeoisie") or expose the blinkered rage that causes Eddie to turn on Rebecca for shaving her legs. Indeed, Eddie's fraught family life, overhung by his brutal, charismatic father, is at the heart of this honest and powerful novel. Some rather broad scenes – including a sex-shop trip – disrupt the pace somewhat, but this passionate, sad and well-told book offers a compelling portrait of a flawed young radical. ~ James Start, The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/mar/22/eddie-the-kid-zeilig-review

At times this is a very funny novel, satirising the foibles of the left, though always from a position of deep commitment to that same left. But it is also a profoundly sad book which constantly reminds us that capitalism and its institutions, above all the family, can only be resisted and ultimately destroyed by those who are its victims, and that the victims are not only oppressed materially, but also warped and corrupted from within. As Eddie writes, "More than ever I needed a revolution to cleanse me of the muck and prejudice of ages." ~ Ian Birchall, Socialist Review: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12334

Leo Zeilig's gripping, vibrant and affecting story of political struggle and psychological upheaval. Written through a series of flashbacks and time shifts, with naked bravura, EDDIE THE KID follows a family of political activists through generations from 1960s Chicago to the London protests in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. With brute honesty and tender compassion, Zeilig reveals a cast of compelling characters as damaged and flawed as the world they have set out to change. Charting relationships, resistance, domestic violence, inner conflict, repression, rigged courts, police brutality, street battles.... this is a humane and political novel for our times. ~ Nicola Field, author of Over the Rainbow

This is a powerful and unusual story of a revolutionary activist written with authenticity by someone who knows whereof he speaks. Relentlessly Zeilig reveals and confronts his eponymous hero’s dark side - this book is at once disturbing and strangely inspiring. ~ John Molyneux, author of What is the real Marxist tradition?

I don’t know how Leo Zeilig did it. He created a wavering revolutionary, beset with juvenile tendencies and petty bourgeois emotion, and turned him into a wildly, implausibly, universal character. Eddie’s struggles with his conscience, the law, his family and his libido, are hilarious and moving. He’s an Adrian Mole for the age of Occupy. ~ Raj Patel, author of The Value of Nothing

A brutally honest, often humorous and sometimes harsh look at the personal life of an anti-capitalist living under capitalism. This novel captures two generations of anti-war activists in their personal and political turmoil. Warts and all, Eddie is an appealing character and sharp narrator. ~ Colin Fancy, author of A Wheelie Bin Ate My Sister!

Leo Zeilig
Leo Zeilig Leo Zeilig is a researcher and writer on African politics and history based in London. He coordinated the independent Media Centre in Zimbab...
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