Cover image for The essential E.P. Thompson
The essential E.P. Thompson
Thompson, E. P. (Edward Palmer), 1924-1993.
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. 2000
Publication Information:
New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co., [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 498 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library DA480 .T46 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



E.P. Thompson was one of the most visionary and influential historians of the last century, acclaimed as the innovator of "history from below"--the immersion in the many details of everyday life, particularly among the working class, as a vital means of understanding the past and the patterns of history itself. His classic work, The Making of the English Working Class , changed the ways in which not only historians but a whole new generation looked at the past. The Essential E.P. Thompson , the largest collection of Thompson's historical work published in one volume, gives us the full range of his scholarly output, from William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary and The Making of the English Working Class , to Albion's Fatal Tree and Customs in Common . Both a superb introduction for those new to Thompson's work, and an invaluable addition to any history lover's collection, The Essential E.P. Thompson is a stirring testament to the range, complexity, and vision of "one of the most eloquent, powerful, and independent voices of our time" ( The Observer , London).

Author Notes

E.P. Thompson (1924-1993) was one of England''s foremost historians and social critics. His books include Customs in Common , Witness Against the Beast , and Making History (all available from The New Press), as well as The Making of the English Working Class .

Dorothy Thompson (1923-2011), Edward's wife and coworker of many years, was a distinguished historian and the author of the classic The Chartists and o Queen Victoria: Gender and Power , among other works.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In his lifetime, the British historian E. P. Thompson was both admired and reviled. Even his harshest critics paid tribute to his incisive intellect and his efforts to write "history from below," detailing the everyday lives and contributions of ordinary people. Yet conservatives could not stomach his leftist sympathies while orthodox Marxists attacked his constant rebellions against their ideological straightjacket. Dorothy Thompson, his wife, coworker and a prominent historian, has compiled a representative anthology of his work. The selections reveal a man committed to what he viewed as "progressive" causes, but also a man open to new ideas and interpretations of history and culture, even if they contradict his long-held positions. Some of the selections, such as The Making of the English Working Class (1963), are familiar to many historians. Others, such as his moving examination of the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, are rather obscure gems. This book will be a delight for historians and general readers with an interest in the social sciences. --Jay Freeman

Library Journal Review

This collection of writings by Thompson, the influential British historian of 18th- and 19th-century England, was compiled by his widow, the historian Dorothy Thompson (The Chartists). In this single edition, she includes The Making of the English Working Class, Customs in Common, Making History, and other of Thompson's salient works of history from the bottom up, or "history from below"Da phrase that happens to be the title of one of the essays here. Whether discussing weavers or Mary Wollstonecraft, Thompson argues that social relationships in the modern Western world are open, dynamic, and evolving categories. Thompson considers consciousness, culture, and value systems just as crucial to the historical narrative as are explanations of social class and power. Indeed, his works have become important points of reference for many post-1960s American social historians. Recommended for academic libraries.DCharles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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