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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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... such as before 1848 and today. But what exactly do those who write ‘people’s history’ think they are doing? What does the term mean? In the case of the splendid package inspired and edited by RaphaelSamuel, it clearly means, among other things, history written by a lot of people: about fifty named authors and a ‘collective’. It also means a history arousing the active enthusiasm of a great ...

Retrochic

Keith Thomas

20 April 1995
Theatres of Memory. Vol. I: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture 
by Raphael Samuel.
Verso, 479 pp., £18.95, February 1995, 0 86091 209 4
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... RaphaelSamuel and I were undergraduates together at Balliol in the early Fifties. Bibliographically omnivorous, buried under piles of notes and unfinished essays, inkstained and dishevelled, he exuded intellectual ...

Diary

Alison Light: Raphael Samuel

2 February 2017
... In his basement kitchen​ RaphaelSamuel had a cabinet of curiosities, a glass-fronted corner cupboard filled with dusty objects. Among them, a lump of coal from the Durham coalfields and a plastic National Coal Board mug; a yellow and ...

Diary

Alison Light: The death of Raphael Samuel

22 February 2001
... It’s four years since my husband, the historian and socialist RaphaelSamuel, died of cancer at the age of 61. In the weeks after his death, I wrote about him every day. I filled a boxfile and an A3 ringbinder with anecdotes and observations, physical descriptions and ...
29 October 1998
Theatres of Memory. Vol. II. Island Stories: Unravelling Britain 
by Raphael Samuel, edited by Alison Light.
Verso, 391 pp., £20, June 1998, 1 85984 965 2
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... When RaphaelSamuel died, the second volume of his projected trilogy Theatres of Memory was left unfinished. Some of the longer essays it was intended to contain were unwritten or unannotated or barely begun. The list ...
31 May 2017
... always assumed. It lasted only four years and financial disaster was narrowly averted after it closed in 1962, but like many socialist undertakings before and since it was a creative success. RaphaelSamuel, on the left, photographed in 1958 by Roger Mayne. As Eric Hobsbawm, originally a sharp opponent who later joined the ‘management committee’, put it with characteristic clarity ...
16 July 1981
Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East End Tenement Block 1887-1920 
by Jerry White.
Routledge, 301 pp., £11.50, September 1980, 0 7100 0603 9
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East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding 
by Raphael Samuel.
Routledge, 355 pp., £11.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0725 6
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... and seventh to appear. With two such flourishing enterprises under way, with several of its most illustrious comrades established among the ivory towers and high tables of Oxbridge colleges, and with RaphaelSamuel providing indefatigable leadership in inimitable style, the history workshop movement seems set fair to follow the path already blazed by that earlier enfant terrible, Past and Present, from ...

The Return of History

Raphael Samuel

14 June 1990
... The restoration of history to the school ‘core curriculum’, if it takes place, and if it survives the counter-pressures in the Government towards TVEI (Technical and Vocational Educational Initiative), will represent one of the more remarkable pedagogic reversals of our time. The privileged place which the new curriculum gives (in my opinion, quite rightly) to British history is in singular contrast ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel

4 July 1996
Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... This biography opens with a vivid chapter on Raymond Williams’s funeral. Entitled ‘Prologue, in Memoriam’, it transports the reader to Clodock Church, ‘a plain little building’ in the foothills of the Black Mountains. It is a comfortless day, Fred Inglis tells us. ‘The light fell crooked and the road fell wrong.’ Rooks caw speculatively on the wind, and the weather is appropriately Gothic ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel

22 June 1995
Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... This is the story of simple working people – their hardships, their humours, but above all their heroism.’ The epigraph which introduced the 1939 screen version of The Stars Look Down – the words are possibly those of A.J. Cronin, the novelist, rather than of Carol Reed, the film’s director – signalled a remarkable turn-around in attitudes to the miners, as well as prefiguring what was ...

Downland Maniacs

Michael Mason

5 October 1995
The Village that Died for England 
by Patrick Wright.
Cape, 420 pp., £17.99, March 1995, 0 224 03886 9
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... that he has changed tack from the better known of his two earlier books, On Living in an Old Country (1985). That study of the heritage industry and associated questions (‘heritage-baiting’, RaphaelSamuel has called it) seems to be widely admired, but I am relieved Wright has not followed up its example. Aware that he then had a reputation for both ‘anecdotalism’ and ‘excessively abstract ...

Cadres

Eric Hobsbawm: Communism in Britain

26 April 2007
The Lost World of British Communism 
by Raphael Samuel.
Verso, 244 pp., £19.99, November 2006, 1 84467 103 8
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Communists and British Society 1920-91 
by Kevin Morgan, Gidon Cohen and Andrew Flinn.
Rivers Oram, 356 pp., £16.99, January 2007, 978 1 85489 145 7
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Bolshevism and the British Left, Part One: Labour Legends and Russian Gold 
by Kevin Morgan.
Lawrence and Wishart, 320 pp., £18.99, March 2007, 978 1 905007 25 7
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... parties in and after 1956 and remained firmly on the political left, rejecting Stalinism was more urgent than reflecting on their unique political experience. In the most readable of the retrospects, RaphaelSamuel’s The Lost World of British Communism, which is full of melancholy empathy for an irrecoverable past, Communism is seen as ‘a doomed, flawed but noble faith’. But Samuel did not write ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy

22 December 2019
Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... revealed by the records of Raymond Firth’s study of Bermondsey in 1947-49 and 1958-59, and Michael Young and Peter Willmott’s studies of Bethnal Green and Essex in 1953 and 1955. He then turns to RaphaelSamuel’s interviews in Stevenage in 1959-60 and John Goldthorpe and David Lockwood’s surveys in Cambridge and Luton in the early 1960s to trace the way migration to the ‘new towns’ and rising ...

Catharama

J.L. Nelson: Heretics

7 June 2001
The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars 
by Stephen O’Shea.
Profile, 333 pp., £7.99, May 2001, 1 86197 350 0
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The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars 1290-1329 
by René Weis.
Viking, 453 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 670 88162 7
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... the Cathars in 1996 attended by leading French scholars featured a banquet of Perfects’ terrine, Montségur cheese and Cathar cake. This may seem as innocuous as the 20th-century British retro-chic RaphaelSamuel describes in Theatres of Memory. But search the Internet on Cathars (I looked at only a handful of the 5790 web-pages), and material that would clearly interest historians of modern and ...

Cite ourselves!

Richard J. Evans: The Annales School

3 December 2009
The Annales School: An Intellectual History 
by André Burguière, translated by Jane Marie Todd.
Cornell, 309 pp., £24.95, 0 8014 4665 1
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... American students of social inequality like Stephan Thernstrom, advocates of a social-anthropological approach such as Keith Thomas, partisans of a politically committed history of everyday life like RaphaelSamuel and the History Workshop, and more besides. The world of history seemed then to be not just expanding but exploding, into areas undreamed of by the political and diplomatic historians on whose ...

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