Simply the most influential work of history of our times. And this morning I chanced across a 1963 first edition of E.P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class at the excellent Black Gull bookshop in East Finchley. It was published by Victor Gollancz, and this copy is in excellent condition with the original dust wrapper. It wasn't cheap, but it's made my weekend!
The illustration on the cover is entitled 'Victory of Peterloo' - the massacre on Manchester's St Peter's Fields - from William Hone's Political Tracts of 1819. Thompson's agenda was the working-class radicalism of the period from the French Revolution to the Regency.
And his goal, as he famously declared in the preface, was to 'rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the "obsolete" hand-loom weaver, the "utopian" artisan, and even the deluded follower of Joanna Southcott, from the enormous condescension of posterity.'
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