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In Search of People’s History

Eric Hobsbawm, 19 March 1981

People’s History and Socialist Theory 
edited by Raphael Samuel.
Routledge, 417 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 7100 0765 5
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British Labour History 
by E.H. Hunt.
Weidenfeld, 428 pp., £18.50, January 1981, 0 297 77785 8
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... history’ was a contradiction in terms. We are a long way from Tacitus, upon whom time has taken its revenge by making his work accessible chiefly to a mass public of what he would certainly have regarded as the lower orders by means of television serials about early Roman emperors. As the great Fernand Braudel observes, ‘the obscur...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre, 20 December 2018

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... the one from which the Manchester magistrates had looked out over the crowd. I walked away from the hustings to gauge whether it would be possible to hear a speaker from five hundred yards. As an exercise in historical accuracy, it was pretty impressive, even if this wasn’t Manchester ...

Bristling Ermine

Jeremy Harding: R.W. Johnson, 3 May 2017

Look Back in Laughter: Oxford’s Postwar Golden Age 
by R.W. Johnson.
Threshold, 272 pp., £14.50, May 2015, 978 1 903152 35 5
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How Long Will South Africa Survive? The Looming Crisis 
by R.W. Johnson.
Hurst, 288 pp., £12.99, July 2016, 978 1 84904 723 4
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... a long-standing contributor to the LRB. His first appearance was on the letters page in 1981, where he took ‘mild issue’ with a review of his most celebrated book, The Long March of the French Left. In 1984 he wrote a memorable piece about national intelligence agencies, and the following year, a homage to Pierre Mendès France, one of the best pieces the ...

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