"Arden is to me a writer a bit like Shakespeare in approach, in that the writing not only has to convey...the dialogue of characters speaking together, but also has to carry the sense of the social environment and the texture of people's lives."
This second volume of John Arden's plays includes works from the 1960s. Armstrong's Last Goodnight, although set in 16th century Scotland, sheds new light on the experience of conscript soldiers at the tail end of colonialism in the 1960s; The Workhouse Donkey presents "not just a kaleidoscopic portrait of a living community; it also has the moral uncertainty of life itself" (Michael Billington The Guardian). Left-handed Liberty anatomises the disintegration of the feudal system under King John; while The True History of Squire Jonathan and his Unfortunate Treasure and the radio play The Bagman are based on real incidents, personal and political in Arden's own life.
"Arden is a giant of modern playwriting. He writes on an epic scale that few have attained since, the plays tumble into action, and with vivid human response." (Dominic Dromgoole)