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Eric Hobsbawn has created here what every student and teacher of late – Victorian history wants; a concise, brilliantly organised, deftly introduced collection of contemporary documents from the period in which the modern labour movement took shape. Few of these documents are readily to be found elsewhere. In 142 extracts from contemporary sources Professor Hobsbawn has taken the story from the end-date of Cole and Filson’s ‘British Working Class Movements, Select Documents 1789-1875′ through to the foundation of the Labour Representation Committee which became the Labour Party in 1906. Material commonly available in libraries has been generally avoided, with selections made from pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, official and unofficial surveys and the mass of biographical literature. This was Professor Hobsbawm’s first book, originally appearing in 1948 and in demand ever since. For this new edition he has written a new preface to supplement his earlier editorial material which is marked by the imaginative skills and literary power well known in “Industry and Empire, Labouring Men and Bandits”.
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