The British Marxist Historians Paperback – 9 Oct 1995
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'Harvey Kaye's The British Marxist Historians... is a lasting contribution to the history of twentieth-century Marxism, to a corner of British cultural history, and to the study of how history and historians work' - from the foreword by Eric Hobsbawn
About the Author
HARVEY J. KAYE is Rosenberg Professor of Social Change and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He is the author of The Powers of the Past, The Education of Desire (Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize winner, 1993) and coeditor of The American Radical.
Top Customer Reviews
The pioneering concept of 'history from below' - the study essentially of the thoughts, actions and impact of the common people, was created by these Historians. It was a revoltionary historiographical tool. Thompson's study of working class radicalism, a classic text using history from below. Whatever the criticisms of this work (and there are many) it remains a pioneering work of history.
Kaye's work on these historians is an assesment of their work, lives and impact. As Marxists, many remained faithful to their original decision to become Communists. Several left the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1956 in protest at the revelations of Stalin's atrocities as well as the invasion of Hungary in November of that year. But their work was deeply influenced by their Marxist outlook, and Kaye examines this in great detail.
An excellent work in historiographical analysis.
The non Marxist R H Tawney had provided a critique of the Whig approach to history as the inevitable march of progress towards enlightenment, although he too relied on the activities of movers and shakers rather than pure economic forces. In searching for the latter in terms of the class struggle, Marxist historians created the intellectuals' raison d'etre for their own non-productive existence in a mythical world in which the "people" were accorded an importance they did not have. The Whig interpretation of history had its faults but its strength lay in avoiding the lumping to which J H Hexter referred in his famous destruction of Christopher Hill's methods and analysis of the English Civil War.
Hill had argued that the development of ideas by pivotal figures such as Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh and Edward Coke synthesised and systemised conceptions of science, history and law which he characterised as creating a bourgeois revolution.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. Introduction -- 2. Maurice Dobb and the debate on the transition to capitalism -- 3. Rodney Hilton on feudalism and the English peasantry -- 4. Christopher Hill on the English revolution -- 5. Eric Hobsbawm on workers, peasants and world history -- 6. E.P. Thompson on the making of the English working class -- 7. The collective contribution.
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