Essays on Massage History 1750-1950
Leonard A Goldstone

Published: Feb 2024
Paperback: 288 pages
Price: £15.00
ISBN: 9781915972101
Available on Amazon

Essays on Massage History 1750-1950
by Leonard Goldstone

A history of significant masseuses, masseurs and Western massage from around 1,750 CE. up to the middle 1900s, in a series of essays in approximate historical order.

The essays stand, and can be read, independently in any order of interest. The essays on early massage form the background to more ‘modern’ developments, in particular in the late 19th century, which was a golden age of literature about massage and a time when eminent doctors figured large in massage writings in the USA, UK and Europe – their important texts often stand in quite startling contrast with 21st-century practice and their writing and the massage developments they describe have received scant attention in 21st-century texts. They offer a world of opportunity for researchers to re-assess.

The author describes how medical audit evolved in the late twentieth century but was anticipated by doctors and masseurs assessing the effectiveness of massage in the mid-19th century. The essays also cover developments in the early- and middle-twentieth century associated with The First World War and the rehabilitation of injured soldiers, along with the (mainly) masseuses who did this work.

In addition, they discuss some controversial areas such as who created so called ‘Swedish Massage’; who were the first writers on medical audit; who was possibly the foremost authority on massage of the late 19th and early 20th century but whose name has been almost erased from history.

The book concludes with a chapter profiling the work of a man who designated himself as a masseur into the 1960s, long after most, former ‘masseurs’, became ‘physiotherapists’, possibly the last ‘masseur’ in England at the time.

The author qualified in Massage in the early 1990s at the Northern Institute of Massage, then in Blackpool, England, following in his wife Jennifer’s footsteps and enthusiasm, she having been an orthopaedic and later paediatic registered nurse for many years, prior to becoming a full time remedial masseuse.

Another massage qualification followed from the West London School of Massage whilst the author was in full time employment as Professor and Dean at the London South Bank University in the Faculty of Health and Social Care. The author has held full time Faculty positions in the University of Manchester and the Open University, as well as Visiting Professor in the Medical School of Queen’s University Belfast.

The author’s academic interest in massage history grew from the mid 1990s, being in London with its great libraries and pioneer distinguished hospitals, some of which opened their records for searches of the how, why and when massage was initiated. Many guest lectures and seminars on massage history in other universities followed and continue into formal academic retirement, together with research papers in prestigious journals, culminating in this volume.

Reviews of Essays on Massage History 1750-1950

Melvyn Eyres has been involved in massage therapy for over 50 years, both as a practitioner, and in later years as a Board member, and now President, of the LCSP Register. He also sits on the Board of the GCMT (General Council for Massage Therapies) in an advisory capacity.
This well-researched book will enlighten our understanding of massage therapy, its history and how it got to where it is today. A must-read for educators and anyone involved in, or who has an interest in the massage industry. It includes many little known or forgotten facts about massage therapy, charting its rise and acceptance as a valuable medical modality, to its decline and fall into oblivion as a part of orthodox medical practice. Then it explores its partial revival as a therapy, which is now mostly recognised as an alternative therapy. Of particular interest is the documented change in application frequency and techniques from what was originally taught and used in its heyday, to what is widely accepted as massage therapy today.

Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment


Fergus The Silent by Michael McCarthy, published by YouCaxton, has won the biennial creative writing prize awarded by the British and Irish Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, the body which represents teachers and scholars of environmental writing and eco-criticism.

The novel imagines the rediscovery of the great auk, the legendary extinct Atlantic seabird, on a remote Scottish island, and the actions of the man who stumbles upon the birds – but who then keeps his discovery secret for seventeen years, with ultimately disastrous consequences.

The great auk formerly bred in Scotland but is believed to have gone extinct in Iceland in 1844.

The book emerged at the head of a very strong shortlist, on which it was the only self-published work.  The result was announced at the ASLE conference in Liverpool on August 30th.

“This is a wonderful novel,” said the chair of the judges, Richard Kerridge, leader of the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

“It combines a passionate and complex and at times disastrously painful love story, with a story about species loss and extinction, of a particularly ingenious and exciting kind.  The plot structure and pace are superb. The joy, fear and greed arising for different characters from this astonishing find are beautifully worked into a moving, dramatic story.”

The author Michael McCarthy is a former Environment Correspondent of The Times and Environment Editor of The Independent, and an established writer on environmental themes. His book The Moth Snowstorm – Nature and Joy was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize in 2015.

However, he was unable to find a publisher for Fergus The Silent and in the end published the book himself. It is his first novel.

“We are particularly delighted to award the prize to a self-published novel,” Kerridge said. “It is surprising that a book of this quality by a distinguished author didn’t find a mainstream or trade publisher.”

“Serious realist fiction that engages with these problems still has to fight for its place.”

“I have a very good agent but he simply could not find anyone to take the book on,” McCarthy said. “He received a whole series of what he termed ‘rave rejections’ – as in, ‘we think this is great but it’s just not quite one for us.’ In the end I got fed up with it just being a file in my computer and published it independently.

“I am honoured that it has received the prize.”

Fergus The Silent is published by YouCaxton Publications, ISBN 978-1-914424-38-0. It is available on Amazon, price £12.99.

For more information:
Richard Kerridge,
Michael McCarthy,

Oxford Literary Festival

Oxford Literary Festival runs from 16-24 March, events include conversation with Will Hutton, Sharron Davies and Chris Patten among a long list of names. This year’s festival will have a new hub in Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street

(Image: Oxford High Street, David Nicholls, Flickr)
Visit: Festival website 
Visit: Pocket guide

Travels with a Dangerous Friend
Anthony Fitzgerald

Published: Feb 2024
Paperback: 158 pages
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 978-1-915972-17-0
Available on Amazon

Travels with a Dangerous Friend
Searching the world for a message in the bottle
by Anthony Fitzgerald

Circumstances lead Anthony to emigrate to America aged eighteen. Working in lowly jobs in New York he falls in love with an older woman, moves to Chicago and lives in the African-American quarter of South Chicago.

In London he enters the advertising industry and then joins an expedition driving to Australia. In Australia, the ‘lucky country’, life teaches him drinking ‘Australia style’. Then he joins an Aussie and two Americans to drive through Africa.

Back in London, now an advertising copywriter, he earns reasonable money and unreasonable drinking habits. He fathers a child and, once again, moves on.

In Kenya he starts a company, gets married and has two children. He gets his hunting licence and goes on safaris. He travels extensively in East Africa enjoying the hedonistic lifestyle of the European in Africa. His wife parts from him and back in England he joins Time Magazine.

Time Magazine sends him back to South Africa with his new wife, and then to Holland and Scandinavia with a lifestyle of conspicuous entertainment. Although successful he becomes more dependent on alcohol. The low points are frequent and disaster looms. This is the story of his journey and final redemption.

Sight from Sound
Abeni Chopra

Published: Jan 2024
Paperback: 359 pages
Price: £15.99
ISBN: 978-1-915972-21-7
Available on Amazon

Sight from Sound
by Abeni Chopra

Jumapili Mwangi was blessed with optimism and resilience. The two characteristics she needed to survive and then thrive, because she was born blind in the slums of Kibera. Orphaned at the age of seven, Jumapili was one of the chokora (street children) of Nairobi under the care of her twelve-year-old brother.

While begging on the streets, but with the gifts of a harmonica and a penny whistle, this remarkable child taught herself to play music by listening to the radios being played around her. However, it was the purity of her singing voice which most captivated any audience.

As she grew up, Jumapili developed another rare skill – echolocation. By clicking her tongue and listening to the returning echo, she was able to create an image in her brain of the world around her. This gave her a freedom rarely found by blind people.

Triumphing over personal loss, Jumapili discovered her purpose in life: to build a successful career in the music industry in the hope that it would lead her to the precious gift she had lost. This burning ambition, driven by discipline and focus, took her to some of the world’s top concert halls allowing her to establish a school in Kenya teaching echolocation to young blind children.

This wonderful, if harrowing, story is a joy to read. It is the epitome of hope and courage overcoming adversity. You will find it hard to put down.

220 Rides
Simon Fisher

Published: Jan 2024
Paperback: 130 pages
Price: £8.99
ISBN: 9781915972194
Available on Amazon

220 Rides
by Simon Fisher

It’s June 1970. With just a backpack, some dollars and plenty of optimism, a hitchhiker sets off to discover America. This is what happened along the way, told in his own words.

From New England to California, from Vancouver to the Everglades, 220 drivers stopped to pick up the lone Brit. Most were friendly, some were incredibly generous, a few were hostile.

The United States was at war in Vietnam, Richard Nixon was a year into his presidency, and Woodstock was influencing a generation. The National Guard stood in the way of antiwar protesters. The drama of Apollo 13 had unfolded two months earlier and £1 bought $2.40.

It was a classic time to explore the country, the culture and the people. Join our hitchhiker walking down the Grand Canyon, dodging bears and sheriffs out west, gate-crashing a Republican fundraiser, checking out ‘Beautiful Downtown Burbank’ and doing what hitchhikers always do – enjoying whatever is around the next corner.

Anyone who has hitchhiked anywhere will enjoy this book.

The Alternative Churchill
Mike Poulter

Published: Nov 2023
Paperback: 104 pages
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 9781915972026
Available on Amazon

The Alternative Churchill
by Mike Poulter

Churchill’s status as the titanic UK figure of the 20th Century is open to question. This book argues that, rather than being the saviour of civilisation, Churchill was the proximate cause of civilisation’s near destruction through his part in causing the two world wars.

Mike Poulter begins by tracing the influences behind Churchill’s rise to become a national politician. Names rarely mentioned in other Churchill biographies loom large: Rhodes, Cassel, Abe Bailey and Strakosch. Churchill’s personal and financial dependence on these very influential individuals, who controlled South African Gold and its supply to London, is vividly described.

The tentacles of South African gold spread world-wide. As the tale unfolds, we see that the Boer War was fought in its interest and the First World War was part of that same endeavour. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, in 1925, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill returned Britain to ‘their’ Gold Standard, a decision that led directly to the Great Depression, the drastic unemployment of working people and the General Strike. A similar sorry tale unwinds through the 1930s when the interests of Strakosch, Bracken and Churchill were closely entwined and Churchill advocated for another, unnecessary World War, the arrival of which displayed Churchill’s strategic ineptitude.

Among this sad cast-list there are, fortunately, some heroes: Alanbrooke, Dowding, Cunningham, Keynes and Sutherland. Indeed many heroes - all the courageous military and civilians who fought and suffered throughout Churchill’s wars.

This persuasive book finishes on a more hopeful note. Post 1945, the heroes were Attlee and Bevan, two men who helped create our future from the debris of the war by founding the National Health Service and the Welfare State.

Educated at St. Ignatius College London, Mike Poulter studied Philosophy/ Theology at The Venerable English College and Gregorian University, Rome during Vatican Council 2 and the Cuban Missile crisis. He met two Popes, 3 Prime ministers and other leaders and pondered ‘What Is Politics For’?

His answer: ‘the creation of a very local, national and indeed an international Community, each safe for the development of properly functioning human beings’ turned him towards social work and politics. He had a professional life 30 years as a Probation officer. Politically: 3 times a parliamentary candidate, as a County Councillor he held seriously responsible posts as Chair : Social Services 1984-92, then Highways, Fire Authority and the Staffordshire Police Authority 2001-2009 for which he received the MBE from Queen Elizabeth.

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