Basing himself on Kropotkin's comments that anarchism "originated among the people," his beautifully illustrated account of anarchism interlaces the history of popular revolts with the development of anarchist ideas. Starting with the Free Spirit movement in the Middle Ages, Clifford discusses (in roughly chronological order) all the major popular movements that, even if predating anarchism, had libertarian aspects to them. He covers the French revolution, the Paris Commune, syndicalism and the IWW, the Mexican, Russian and Spanish revolutions, Kronstadt, Hungry 56, Paris 68 and much, much more.
He also effectively summarises the contributions of all the major anarchist thinkers and activists. The similarities between Stirner and Bakunin, Kropotkin and Proudhon are stressed, with Clifford indicating how each form of anarchism can complement the others. Makhno, Zapata and Durruti are there also, along with the positive, constructive, activities of the revolutions they are associated with. It is wonderfully non-sectarian, discussing the contributions of all forms of anarchism in a fair way (see the section on pacifism, for example, presents the arguments of sides well). Few books have condensed anarchist ideas and history in such an attractive manner. Not to mention the graphics, which are simply some of the best I've seen (and as can be seen from any anarchist journal from the late 1980s, I'm not alone in this opinion!).
There are flaws. For example, as far as anarchist thinkers go, Malatesta should have been mentioned. His contribution to anarchist ideas and activity across three continents and six decades deserves comment. It also seems strange that while the Italian Hot Summer of 1969 is covered, the factory occupations of 1920 and anarchist resistance to Mussolini is not. Anarchism in China, Korea and Japan should also be mentioned. But these are minor criticisms of a wonderful book. If a second edition is produced (and I hope it is!) then such oversights should be corrected.
Clifford Harper's book was published in 1987 and is pretty difficult to find these days. Luckily Freedom Press (84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX) still has a few left. Do yourself a favour and buy a copy. You will not be disappointed.