Never judge a book by its cover and never assume that just because it’s hairy, grunts and wears a tricorn hat like Napoleon that your prisoner of war is a French-man. The Hartlepool Monkey tells that mythical British tale when in 1814 a shipwreck off the Durham coast provided the somewhat naïve/ignorant locals with a curious captive to parade around the town, court martial and ultimately dispose of. Though the premise (despite being true) is a pretty ridiculous one, this is no fickle, one joke cartoon book. This timely reminder of the futility of jingoistic behaviour is more Horrible Histories meets From Hell i.e. humorous, informative and creepy in equal measures. It may have been 200 years ago and we may now be able to determine simian from seaman but looking around the world today it seems on the whole we’re still a fairly narrow minded and prejudiced lot, especially when in a mob and faced with something or someone we don’t understand. Buy this brilliantly illustrated book, have a good laugh, then give it to a Daily Mail reader. Available soon from Knockabout.
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