E. P. Thompson is a towering figure in the field of labour history, best known for his monumental work, The Making of the English Working Class. But as this collection shows, Thompson was more than solely a historian: he was a dedicated educator of workers, a brilliant polemicist, a skilled political theorist, and a tireless agitator for peace, against nuclear weapons, and for a rebirth of the socialist project.
The essays in this book, many of which are either out-of-print or difficult to obtain, were written between 1955 and 1963, one of the most fertile periods of Thompson’s intellectual and political life. They reveal Thompson’s insistence on the vitality of a humanistic and democratic socialism along with his view of the value of utopian thinking in radical politics. Throughout, Thompson struggles to open a space independent of official parties, opposing them with a vision of socialism built from the bottom up. Editor Cal Winslow provides context for the essays in a detailed introduction reminding us why this eloquent and inspiring voice remains so relevant to us today.
This collection introduces the thought of an outstanding left historian who combined commitment with original and open-minded inquiry. Thompson’s brilliance and wit transformed the scope of working-class history internationally, documenting how the action of human beings had shaped the present. Equally engaged in the creation of new forms of left politics as a libertarian socialist, his writings are indispensable weapons for a new generation of activists struggling to reinvent radicalism.
Sheila Rowbotham, author, Dreamers of a New Day.
Through this timely, well-chosen collection of E. P. Thompson’s political and historical essays, Cal Winslow gives vital new life to one of the most creative radical thinkers and activists of the twentieth century.
Marcus Rediker, author, The Amistad Rebellion
Available to buy here: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/books/archive/making_of_the_new_left.html