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E. P. Thompson - Social History and Political Essays (19 books) :: The Progressive Torrents Community
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E P Thompson - Social History and Political Essays (19 books)




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EDWARD PALMER (E. P.) THOMPSON (1924-1993) was a British social historian and political activist whose MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS (1963) and other works heavily influenced post-World War II historiography. He participated in the founding of the British New Left in the 1950s, and in the 1980s he became one of Europe's most prominent antinuclear activists.

After serving in World War II, Thompson joined the British Communist Party. He devoted himself to grassroots organizing and peace activism, taught evening classes at the University of Leeds, and conducted research on his first book, a biography of WILLIAM MORRIS (1955), the 19th-century socialist and leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Although he bitterly broke away from the Party in 1956 over the Soviet invasion of Hungary, he nevertheless remained a "historian in the Marxist tradition."

Thompson's most famous work is THE MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS (1963). In the passionately eloquent prose style that became his trademark, Thompson attacked the prevailing Marxist emphasis on impersonal economic forces and its reductionist interpretation of class consciousness by exploring the ordinary cultures of working people through their previously ignored documentary remains. In a now-famous phrase, he described himself as seeking to rescue British workers "from the enormous condescension of posterity." The book rapidly became one of the most influential historical works of the post-war era, provoking a sustained and widespread renewal of scholarly interest in the intricacies of grassroots history narrated "from below" and a watershed in the foundation of the field of social history.

His argument for a self-critical and unapologetically humanist Marxist tradition was extended in THE POVERTY OF THEORY (1978), a now classic collection of essays. The book is anchored by Thompson's erudite polemic against Louis Althusser and his followers on the British left for what he considered the reductionism and authoritarianism of Marxist structuralism (famously calling all of them "Geschichtenscheissenschlopff, unhistorical shit").

Despite an ambivalent relationship with the academic world, Thompson defended many of the underlying canons and standards of professional scholarship and produced a steady stream of influential historical and political essays. In the early 1980s, he became a leading voice in the campaign for nuclear disarmament. He wrote dozens of polemical articles and essays analyzing the Cold War and setting forth his vision of a Europe without superpowers, including THE HEAVY DANCERS (1985) and an anthology of essays opposing Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, STAR WARS (1985). His rigorous evenhandedness in condemning both Cold War blocs gave him widespread credibility among many western Europeans, who came to look upon him as one of their most popular and trusted moral leaders.

All of Thompson's historical and political work sought to demonstrate that society's downtrodden should not be seen, or see themselves, as helpless and passive objects of history. This lifelong stance of defiant dissent infused his posthumously published WITNESS AGAINST THE BEAST (1993) a full-scale reassessment of the poet William Blake and the radical political and cultural movements of the Romantic era. Whatever form his vision of "the Beast" took -- whether it was the Communist Party bureaucracy, the boardrooms of corporate capitalism, the "respectable" academic establishment, or the vast military and political structures of the Cold War -- Thompson consistently voiced his own passionate and constructive opposition.


The following books are in ePUB and/or PDF format as indicated:

* Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture (New Pr, 1992) - ePUB + PDF
* E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left (MR, 2014). C. Winslow, ed. -- ePUB + PDF
* Heavy Dancers: Writings on War, Past and Future (Pantheon, 1985) -- PDF
* Mad Dogs: The U.S. Raids on Libya (Pluto, 1986). Mary Kaldor, ed. -- PDF
* Making History: Writings on History and Culture (New Press, 1995) -- PDF
* Making of the English Working Class (Vintage, 1966) -- ePUB + PDF
* Making of the English Working Class (Penguin, 1980). Revised w/ new Postscript -- ePUB
* "Moral Economy of the English Crowd, The", (1971) 50 Past & Present 76 -- PDF
* Poverty of Theory (Merlin, 1995). With new Postscript. -- PDF
* Poverty of Theory & Other Essays (Merlin, 1978 / Monthly Review, 2008) -- ePUB + PDF
* Protest and Survive (Monthly Review, 1981). E.P. Thompson & Dan Smith, eds. -- PDF
* "Reflections on Jacoby and All That" (History & Society Program, 1987) -- PDF
* Romantics, The: England in a Revolutionary Age (New Press, 1997) -- PDF
* Star Wars (Pantheon, 1985). E.P. Thompson et al., eds. -- PDF
* Unknown Mayhew, The (Schocken, 1972). E.P. Thompson & Eileen Yeo, eds. -- PDF
* Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act (Allen Lane, 1975) -- PDF
* William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary (PM, 2011) -- ePUB
* Witness Against the Beast: Wm Blake and the Moral Law (New Press, 1993) -- ePUB


== FICTION ==

* Sykaos Papers, The (Pantheon, 1988) -- PDF


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