The year 2015 marked the centenary of the birth of Stuart Hood, whose account of his years in Italy as a prisoner of war, and as a partisan following his escape, is one of the best written memoirs to have come out of the Second World War. However, this book, Pebbles from My Skull, was just one of the achievements of a remarkable polymath. Hood’s post-war career included 17 years at the BBC, where he became Director of Programmes and made high-profile documentaries, and spells as a university professor. He was also a distinguished translator from German and Italian, and a writer of novels that draw on his Scottish childhood and wartime experiences. His life and work were heavily characterised by his involvement in left-wing politics: he joined the Communist Party as a student in Edinburgh, was an anti-Stalinist socialist after the war and, for a few years in the mid-1970s, was a member of the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party.
The paper in the pdf below is a version of a talk given by Hilary Horrocks in which she described her research into Hood’s remarkable adventures in Italy and the effect that they had on him. The talk was given at conferences commemorating the centenary of Hood’s birth, first at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh on 4 September 2015, and subsequently at the Open University in London on 28 November 2015. The Monte San Martino Trust is very grateful to Hilary Horrocks for permitting the paper’s publication here.
Please click on the pdf.
© Hilary Horrocks