Common People: The History of An English Family

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 28 May 2015
Shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize

'Part detective story, part Dickensian saga, part labour history. A thrilling and unnerving read' Observer

'Mesmeric and deeply moving' Daily Telegraph

'Remarkable, haunting, full of wisdom' The Times

Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond.

Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new kind of public history, following the lives of the migrants who travelled the country looking for work. Original and eloquent, it is a timely rethinking of who the English were - but ultimately it reflects on history itself, and on our constant need to know who went before us and what we owe them.
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ISBN-13: 9780141039862
ISBN-10: 0141039868
Pagini: 352
Ilustrații: integrated black & white illustrations
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 x 21 mm
Greutate: 0.28 kg
Editura: Penguin Books
Colecția Penguin
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom

Notă biografică

Alison Light is a writer and critic. She is an honorary professor in the Department of English at University College, London, Honorary Professorial Fellow at Edinburgh University and a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. A regular contributor to the London Review of Books, she is the author of the much-acclaimed Mrs Woolf and the Servants and Common People, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. She lives in Oxford.


In illuminating her own, Light serves up the most powerful family history I have ever read.
Light writes beautifully. With such colour and with perception and lyricism she clads the past....Common People is part memoir, part thrilling social history of the England of the Industrial Revolution, but above all a work of quiet poetry and insight into human behaviour. It is full of wisdom.
This book is a substantial achievement: its combination of scholarship and intelligence is, you may well think, the best monument you could have to all those she has rescued from time's oblivion.
Evocatively written...a thrilling and unnerving read
Exquisite...Barely a page goes by without something fascinating on it, betraying Light's skill in winkling out the most relevant or moving aspects of her antecedents' lives, which echo through the generations.
[A] short and beautifully written meditation on family and mobility.
Intellectually sound and relevant...a refreshingly modern way of thinking about our past.
Light [is skilled] in probing dark corners of her ancestry and exposing their historical meaning...packed with humanity.
Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, Alison Light makes her family speak for England.
A remarkable achievement...should become a classic.