The Making of the outlet sale new arrival English Working Class outlet online sale

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A seminal text on the history of the working class by one of the most important intellectuals of the twentieth century. 

During the formative years of the Industrial Revolution, English workers and artisans claimed a place in society that would shape the following centuries. But the capitalist elite did not form the working class—the workers shaped their own creations, developing a shared identity in the process. Despite their lack of power and the indignity forced upon them by the upper classes, the working class emerged as England’s greatest cultural and political force. Crucial to contemporary trends in all aspects of society, at the turn of the nineteenth century, these workers united into the class that we recognize all across the Western world today. E.P. Thompson’s magnum opus,  The Making of the English Working Class defined early twentieth-century English social and economic history, leading many to consider him Britain’s greatest postwar historian. Its publication in 1963 was highly controversial in academia, but the work has become one of the most influential social commentaries every written.

From the Inside Flap

"Thompson''s book has been called controversial, but perhaps only because so many have forgotten how explosive England was during the Regency and the early reign of Victoria. Without any reservation, The Making of the English Working Class is the most important study of those days since the classic work of the Hammonds."--"Commentary
"Mr. Thompson''s deeply human imagination and controlled passion help us to recapture the agonies, heroisms and illusions of the working class as it made itself. No one interested in the history of the English people should fail to read his book."--London "Times Literary Supplement

From the Back Cover

''This is an active, valuing history, and its many clear judgments constitute an important challenge to many kinds of contemporary orthodoxy.'' --The Listener

About the Author

E.P. (Edward Palmer) Thompson was born in England in 1924 and graduated from Cambridge in 1946 with a degree in history.  The Making of the English Working Class was instantly recognized as a classic upon its publication in 1963 and secured his position as one of the most influential historians of the twentieth century. Thompson was also a fervent activist and a key figure in the ending of the Cold War. He died in 1993.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Rivermanmiss
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great for the specialist in the field, but....
Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2014
Overview This is a formidable 832-page paperback which was written in 1963 by the venerable British historian E. P. Thompson. It provides a detailed description of the events involved in the emergence of the British working class in the years between 1780 and 1832.... See more
Overview
This is a formidable 832-page paperback which was written in 1963 by the venerable British historian E. P. Thompson. It provides a detailed description of the events involved in the emergence of the British working class in the years between 1780 and 1832. Part I (pages 1 - 188) deals with the role of the French revolutionary spirit in infecting Britain in the 1790''s. Part II (pages 189 - 450) describes the experiences of various groups of workers dealing with the early years of the Industrial Revolution and the unfolding rulings of Parliament. Part III (451 - 832) explains the various views and political theories of the leading reformers and radicals. The book has no illustrations or images of any kind. It is pure text. This book is lavishly praised by professional historians and specialists of the period. For example, the London Tribune called it "a true masterpiece." I will share some cautions for those who are not specialists in this historical period.

Author
The author, E. P. Thompson (1924 - 1993) was, along with Eric Hobsbawn, a member of a small group of British left wing historians. He was an early member of the Communist Party, but he quit the party in disgust when the Soviets invaded Hungary in 1956. He spent his career writing and advocating for nuclear disarmament and other liberal causes. I learned this after finishing the book, and I certainly did not detect any Marxist bias in the book itself.

Target Audience
This book was written for those who teach college-level British history. After 50 years it remains on many university reading lists. It is my impression that Thompson was a professional historian writing for an elite coterie of other professional historians.

The focus
This book focused on a brief 52-year period from 1780 to 1832 when Britain was dealing with the developing Industrial Revolution. Within this time period, he zeroes in on the issues facing the laboring class which was increasingly exploited by the new industrialists. The bulk of the discussion revolves around political theories in favor of liberating the laboring people and political theories for defending the status quo and exploiting the laboring people. This is the main thrust of the book. The author goes into great detail with each twist and turn of the period as the two sides in the debate go back and for forth with their polemics.

I was interested to learn...
I was interested to learn many things: 1. Prime Minister Pitt suspended habeas corpus twice in efforts to suppress reform movements. 2. The Methodist Church was not particularly supportive of the legal and political struggles of the working people because John Wesley was obsessive in his desire to be submissive to the ruling government and to encourage his followers to defer their present-day, earthly hopes to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 3. Beginning in 1792 those who gathered to discuss the merits of expanding the right to vote were treated as traitors and were subject to the death penalty. 4. Thomas Paine (who returned to England after the Revolutionary War) was an early leading theorist on behalf of the laboring people, and he sought political asylum in France. 5. The laboring people were repressed and exploited not only by the early mill owners but also by the landed aristocracy and even the Church of England (which was closely allied with the King and his government). 6. In this 52-year period Parliament passed a blizzard of laws, most of which ratcheted up the repression to the laboring people and only a few laws made a calculated concession to laboring people in order to avoid a violent revolution. It worked. England survived the 1700''s and 1800''s without a revolution.

What the book did not do for me
I am not a professional historian, so I am probably not the target audience of this book. I am a retired businessman, and I was interested in learning more about the everyday lives of my ancestors in England during the 1700''s and 1800''s. In that period up to 90% of the people in England were either peasants or "working class." I was a little disappointed
1.) I didn''t learn very much about these everyday lives - their housing, their diets, their work, their standard of living, their health and medical care, their hopes and fears. This focus on "everyday life" or "ordinary life" is the increasing focus of historians in the 21st century, but it was not the focus of this book.
2.) The author assumes that his readers have a background in the events of this period, and therefore he doesn''t begin with a clear explanation of the event or legislation - for instance the Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800. I found myself consulting Wikipedia again and again to get the background necessary to piece things together.
3.) As an amateur I would have liked some simple learning devices such as a glossary of terms and a timeline of events in this tumultuous 52-year period. Again, timelines are much more common in comparable history books written today than they were in books written 50 years ago. I am compiling my own timeline based on the text of this book.
4.) Finally, I would have liked a summary of the key events between 1780 and 1852 that produced a consciousness of something called "the working class" by 1832. The title "The Making of the English Working Class" seemed to imply that the book would dissect and analyze the ingredients that produced this class consciousness. I confess I somehow missed a simple step by step explanation.
In conclusion, although this book probably deserves a 5-star rating for professional historians, its value to me, a non-professional, was more like a 4-star rating.

Who should buy this book?
If you are a professor of British history or a PhD student in the field, this book needs no introduction . It probably is part of the canon of required reading in your field, and you probably will agree that it is "a masterpiece." But if you are not a specialist, I suggest that you buy this book and invest the required 16 to 20 hours to read it, only if you have serious interest in this 50-year period in British history and/or a deep interest in the plight of the British working class when it emerged in the 1800''s.
126 people found this helpful
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Katie Kay
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not what I was looking for
Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2020
Normally I read reviews before purchasing books, but will be honest, saw the high amount of stars and went ahead with purchase. I should have dived deeper into them before purchasing this book. As I am not a historian, I am assuming the book is informative and well written... See more
Normally I read reviews before purchasing books, but will be honest, saw the high amount of stars and went ahead with purchase. I should have dived deeper into them before purchasing this book. As I am not a historian, I am assuming the book is informative and well written for the correct audience and deserves 5 stars. What peaked my interest in the topic was watching a documentary on my husband''s city, Manchester, in particular the building of The Crescents in Hulme. After watching the failure of that social project, social aspects of English life really interested me. I wanted to learn more about daily life of the average Englishman, the backbone of English society and look at the evolution of the class in general. What I am really after is a sociology book that takes place in the 20th century describing daily life, work atmosphere, food, neighbor dynamics, etc. This was too historical (requires lots of Googling if not well versed in post French Revolution/Industrial Revolution history, Acts, Laws, etc). It is a large book and it is extremely "dry". This book is one star if looking for what I was.

PS. If someone has a great recommendation that describes what I am looking for above, please let me know. Thanks.
5 people found this helpful
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James Forrester
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great book. If you value history
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2017
A great book. If you value history, have an interest in 19th century British history that is not simply about Victoria and colonial wars, you must read this book. Britain was the leading edge of the Industrial Revolution and all nations making the transition to an... See more
A great book. If you value history, have an interest in 19th century British history that is not simply about Victoria and colonial wars, you must read this book. Britain was the leading edge of the Industrial Revolution and all nations making the transition to an industrial society in her wake went through similar struggles. The unending campaign of those on society''s lowest rungs for dignity and a decent life against the amassed power of the Crown, Parliament and the grinding of unfettered capitalism is inspiring. This book does a great service to their memory.

This is a History (please note the capital "H") of decades of action by millions of people. It is not light reading. Sometimes that story can only be told through statistics and citing government reports. Be prepared to do at least a bit of work to follow along. That said, the writing is clear and concise and the narrative easy to follow. The subject is vast and much of what Thompson had to say flew in the face of the happy histories those in power wrote about themselves and their forebears, making necessary detail otherwise omitted if other honest works had been more readily available. Hence, a book longer than it might, under other conditions, have been. For myself, the work has exactly the right number of words.

I''m having to pare down my hard copy collection of books and my 45 year old copy of "The Making of the English Working Class" will have to go to another home, so I''m thankful for this inexpensive electronic version. Hopefully, the problems noted by previous reviewers have been corrected.
13 people found this helpful
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vburns
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Audiobook damaged with scratches despite being brand new
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2020
Wanted to review the audio book (MP3 CD''s) in particular since they were so damaged and since I didn''t get around to "listening" to them until after the return period, I can''t now return despite the fact that they are damaged new out of the box. So damaged that I was really... See more
Wanted to review the audio book (MP3 CD''s) in particular since they were so damaged and since I didn''t get around to "listening" to them until after the return period, I can''t now return despite the fact that they are damaged new out of the box. So damaged that I was really only able to listen to about one-half of the actual book. Very disappointed in Brilliance MP3 CD''s, which are usually pretty flawless.

In terms of the actual text: This is a classic history from a Marxist historian. There are 100''s of reviews from learned scholars. For me, I found the text to be much less focused on actual work and too focused on political theory, theology and religious positions of various protestant sects, and so on. Much, much less actual "working class" social history than I would have expected.
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Patrick Yeung
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Working People''s Pursuit of Identity
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2009
In `The Making of the English Working Class,'' Thompson marked the period between 1790 and 1830 for the formation of `working class'' and the development of class consciousness, `the consciousness of an identity of interests as between all these diverse groups of working... See more
In `The Making of the English Working Class,'' Thompson marked the period between 1790 and 1830 for the formation of `working class'' and the development of class consciousness, `the consciousness of an identity of interests as between all these diverse groups of working people and as against the interests of other classes.'' The confluence of population implosion, the Industrial Revolution and political counter revolution from 1792 - 1832 created a situation that beckoned the working people to coalesce together and adopt a collective social role to safeguard their interests.

The Industrial Revolution ushered a sea change for workers by usurping the old paternalist economy by laissez faire. The economic policies and changes in each industry coupled with the abrogation of paternalist legislations in the early 1800s united workers in common misery: `for the field laborer, the loss of his common rights, and the vestiges of village democracy; for the artisan, the loss of his craftsman''s status; for the weaver, the loss of livelihood and of independence.'' Collectively, the group felt `a sense of loss status as memories of their `golden age'' lingered''.

The horrors of the French revolution and the fear of violent revolution at home joined landowners and manufacturers to block reforms. With the advent of Paine''s `Age of Reason'' and `Rights of Men,'' gentry reformers such as Wyvill became alarmed by the linkage of `political with economic demands'' and the demands of expropriation of the landowners. With support from both the aristocracy and the middle class, the government swiftly adopted reactionary measures, such as the Two Acts, suspension of habeas corpus, Combination Act and even planting spy as agent of provocateur to extirpate agitators. Pitt transitioned from a champion of `piecemeal reform into diplomatic architect of European counter-revolution.''

Thus, reform followed a circuitous path, though it remained `a contest of the middle class and the working class.'' The reformers were generally divided among constitutionalists, like Cobbett, and Spencer''s radical revolutionary. Radicalism divided the society between `useful'' or `productive classes'' or courtiers, sinecurists, fund-holders, speculators, parasitic middlemen.'' In the face of government intransigence, such as the fruitless and expensive recourse to the Parliament between 1800 and 1812 showed, skilled men, artisans and some outworkers turned to the radical culture for reform. With each succeeding crisis, such as the Peterloo massacre, the radical''s clout accreted and gained moral consensus among the general populace, culminating to the Pentridge rising, `one of the first attempts in history to mount a wholly proletarian insurrection, without any middle-class support.'' In a wrestle for control, the Reform Acts 1832 was the middle class''s effort to thwart a revolution were it to occur.

The changing responses to the government measures shepherded the coming of class consciousness. During the early part of the French revolution, `Church and King'' mobs could be manipulated against the reformers. With the tightening of government control, a growing number of communities began to follow their own moral codes - from the transitional mobs during the food riots, the plebian jury''s refusal to convict reformers and `seditionists'' termed by the government, the centralized tactics of Luddism and to the support of and participation in trade unionism. From the experiences of passive and active resistance and cooperation, this new working class culture unified the mass to voice their demands and work toward their goals - a force that could not be suppressed.
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Ronnie Bennett-Bray
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thompson was a superior kind of historian
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2014
Thompson was a superior kind of historian. This book explains in detail how the working class emerged from the hinterlands of the Industrial revolution to be come a force that changed the experience of workers and finally gathered sufficient political clout to make work... See more
Thompson was a superior kind of historian. This book explains in detail how the working class emerged from the hinterlands of the Industrial revolution to be come a force that changed the experience of workers and finally gathered sufficient political clout to make work places safer and make work more rewarding.

Thompson is at the top of his profession. This remarkable and essential book proves him so to be.
4 people found this helpful
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Frederick G. Widdowson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding and very thorough work. This is very important ...
Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2017
Outstanding and very thorough work. This is very important and should be read by students of the topics of Economic history, Social history, and English history. Invaluable resource.
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Marsha Winkler
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Price
Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2018
For school
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Top reviews from other countries

Stephen Cooper
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
WHAT WAS IT THAT WAS MADE AT THIS PERIOD, EXACTLY?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 22, 2017
I should have read this book 50 years ago when it first came out. In those days EP Thompson was a leading intellectual in Britain, in an age when intellectuals still contributed largely to public debate, and history was thought to be important. The making of the English...See more
I should have read this book 50 years ago when it first came out. In those days EP Thompson was a leading intellectual in Britain, in an age when intellectuals still contributed largely to public debate, and history was thought to be important. The making of the English working class has doubtless continued to be studied by academics and teachers since those days, but EP Thompson (who was a considerable personal force and a fierce debater) died in 1993 and is no longer here to defend his views; and I doubt if the subject matter of the book commands the public attention it once did, now that the Labour Movement has fragmented and been largely excluded from the corridors of power. I was left the book by a friend, who died tragically, and for whom it was a kind of Bible. I read it as a belated homage to him. It is certainly very thorough, entertaining and interesting; but does it really explain the origins of the English working class? It is really a history of ideas, taking us from the Jacobinism of the 1790s, via the risings of the Luddites, the Pentridge Rising and the Cato Street Conspiracy to the writings of Robert Owen, the Great Reform Act of 1832, and the ideas of Robert Owen and the Chartists. This does not tell us much about ‘the working class’, as a unit, or about its numbers, composition and conditions. It certainly tells us something about the influences on various working classes (in the plural); but these influences were also at work (perhaps more powerfully so) on the lower middle class. Thompson does not dwell much on literacy rates amongst the working classes, and in any event, an ability to read, or even possession of a book or text, does not prove that a person has read it. Thompson was a Marxist and clearly believed in the importance of materialism, the labour theory of value, and the class struggle; and in this book his implied criticism of all the writers he tells us about is that they had not yet grasped the fundamental truths which Marx and Engels had yet to expound. This means three things (1) He explains religion by reference to its social usefulness and effects, rather than attributing any importance to what people actually said and believed. Thus he belittles its importance. Famously, he even describes Methodism as a kind of masturbation! (2) He regards all the ideas he describes as immature in some way, compared with full blown dialectical materialism. Yet this would seem to both anachronistic and to conflict with his wish to rescue the people concerned from the ‘enormous condescension of posterity’. (3) The book does not really deal with the class struggle. It is a description of a series of movements and risings, and a parallel history of political thinking. One has the feeling that the title was chosen because the subject was topical. One could equally well argue that the English working class did not really come into existence until the late 19th century, by which time a majority of the population lived in towns, a vast numbers of workers worked in factories, Marx and Engels had written their seminal works, and there were conscious movements designed to establish the working class in power, by constitutional or revolutionary means. By comparison, Mr Thompson’s book seems to deal with a disjointed series of activists and thinkers, of uncertain origins, who were driven by a hatred of tyranny and ‘the Establishment’, without being clearly imbued with notions of class. Nevertheless, parts of this book are a very good read. I found the description of how the Great Reform Act of 1832 was such a disappointment to the Radicals of most interest.
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Steve @ Aberdeen
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A classic, but hard going
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2021
This is not a quick guide. Over 900 pages and, unless you start with a basic understanding of English history in the 18th/19th century, you''ll miss a lot. I wouldn''t describe it as a book for dipping into. However, worth taking the time if you''re interested in social...See more
This is not a quick guide. Over 900 pages and, unless you start with a basic understanding of English history in the 18th/19th century, you''ll miss a lot. I wouldn''t describe it as a book for dipping into. However, worth taking the time if you''re interested in social history.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Still authoritative
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 23, 2017
What great read after a gap of 40 years. Leaves you in no doubt about where his alliances are rooted and where yours should also be if you have any sense of justice. Excellent footnotes and a wealth of ideas for further research.
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good, but....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 19, 2016
Good book. Nice cover edition however; the text, like other penguins classics, is very small. It''s an interesting book however it references many other texts in the footnotes and if you aren''t familiar with those texts may make it hard to follow. This book is very prolix...See more
Good book. Nice cover edition however; the text, like other penguins classics, is very small. It''s an interesting book however it references many other texts in the footnotes and if you aren''t familiar with those texts may make it hard to follow. This book is very prolix and so makes it a challanging read. However it is interesting.
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Michael France
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2018
This is a must read for anyone interested in the working class.
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The Making of the outlet sale new arrival English Working Class outlet online sale

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