Common People: The History of an English Family

Author(s): Alison Light


"A remarkable achievement ...should become a classic". (Margaret Drabble). "Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, Alison Light makes her family speak for England". (Jerry White, author of London in the Eighteenth Century). 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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Alison Light is a writer and critic who is also currently a Visiting Professor of Modern English Literature and Culture at Newcastle University and at Sheffield Hallam University. She was born in Portsmouth, read English at Churchill College, Cambridge and was awarded a D.Phil. from Sussex University. She has worked at the BBC, in adult education, and also lectured at Royal Holloway College and University College London University. She spent several years establishing the Raphael Samuel History Centre in London. She writes regularly for the press, and also frequently broadcasts on BBC radio and on television. Her last book was the much-acclaimed Mrs Woolf and the Servants.

General Fields

  • : 9781905490387
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Fig Tree
  • : October 2014
  • : 240mm X 162mm X 32mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 929.20942
  • : 352
  • : integrated black & white illustrations
  • : Alison Light
  • : Hardback