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From Dusk til Dawn

Foreword by Benjamin Zephaniah
Keith Manns name is in many minds synonymous with the ALF. I first came across him when I was dedicating a lot of time to supporting prisoners and the animal rights movement. He was brought to my attention because he was both a prisoner and an animal rights activist. Having never met him, and armed with only a photo of him, I joined his supporters in regular letter writing and the lobbying of MPs on his behalf.
Having served time in prison as an ALF activist, Mann is something of a cause clbre in the global animal rights movement for his uncompromising stance on the issue of animal exploitation. Eminently personable, he never attempts to paint himself as anything other than what he is - a cheeky and affable Mancunian lad, with an overriding desire to see an end to the suffering of animals. I first met him on a demonstration and I thought it was going to be one of those mystical experiences, like you get when you meet Nelson Mandela, but all I got from him was a piece of vegan cake and a leaflet about another demo. It is this passion that has motivated him to break unjust laws. It informs his actions and his life choices, and it is this passion that speaks to us when we read From Dusk til Dawn, his first book.
Those who know the author personally will recognise the often chatty, anecdotal style in his writing, which is conversational and not restricted by the house style of a publisher worried about the bottom line. It allows you to read this book from cover to cover or dip into it at leisure, though its subject matter and sheer scale do not make it easy bedtime reading.
Mann is a natural storyteller, with a hell of a story to tell. It does not end happily ever after, nor does it offer glib solutions to the tyranny of oppression. What it does offer is hope, and that is its feel-good factor. As the books title suggests, it provides a background to the dawning of a new consciousness, though it also gives a knowing wink to the reader who recognises that the hours before dawn are the hours when most direct actions take place.
Starting with a brief but not exhaustive summary of the early history of the movement, From Dusk til Dawn is primarily the personal perspective of former ALF activist Keith Mann on the direct action wing of the Animal Liberation Movement, which began to burgeon in the 1960s. The book takes you on tour with the ALF as activists carry out raids, and allows the reader to gain a better understanding of the thinking and motivation of some of the people who work within ALF cells or alone - those who go out of their way to break the law of the land. Mann lays before you his personal view in a collection of stories that will in turn move, shock, entertain and enlighten.

The history of what we would consider the modern animal rights movement is barely 100 years old; it is a movement still in its infancy. This book is a part of that unfolding history. In my humble opinion there have been times when the animal rights movement has lost its way, when sections of it have got bogged down in what are almost academic arguments about language or image, or even personalities. At times like these we tend to forget about what the struggle is really about and begin to sound like bureaucratic hippies. This book reminds us why we are here. Sometimes being able to look back helps in seeing the way forward. Knowing your roots can promote your growth. Agree with Mann or not, you cannot fail to be moved by his moral arguments and his appeal to the humanity that potentially resides in us all to work towards rebuilding a world on the principles of true equality with life itself being the yardstick.

© Keith Mann 2007 puppypincher@yahoo.co.uk
From Dusk til Dawn An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement