ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Writing Labour History

Histories of Labour: National and International Perspectives edited by Joan Allen, Alan Campbell and John McIlroy (The Merlin Press, 2010; Delhi: Aakar Books), 2011; pp vi+399, hardback, Rs 995.

Histories of Labour was published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH), founded on 6 May 1960 in London. It includes a preface by the late Eric Hobsbawm, who was a founder member. The idea of the society, he writes, came from a collective of friends formed in the Communist Party Historians’ Group but the Society itself was much broader. The book surveys labour historiography in Britain (three chapters: “Organised Labour History in Britain: The Society for the Study of Labour History after Fifty Years” by John McIlroy, “Britain: 1750-1900” by Joan Allen and Malcolm Chase, and “Britain: the Twentieth Century” by Alan Campbell and John McIlroy), Ireland (Emmet O’Connor and Conor McCabe), the United States (US) (Elizabeth Faue), Canada (Bryan Palmer), Australia (Greg Patmore), Germany (Klaus Tenfelde), India (Rana P Behal, Chitra Joshi and Prabhu Mohapatra), and Japan (Takao Matsumura, John McIlroy and Alan Campbell). The concluding chapter is a plea for a global labour history by Marcel van der Linden. Each chapter includes a survey of labour historiography in that country including major institutions, periodicals and conferences, and an extensive literature review that would be an invaluable resource for scholars of the subject.

The British Influence

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