A fascinating collection of essays concerning working men and women.
These 26 essays range over the history of working men and women between the late 18th century and the present day. They include Hobsbawm’s pioneering studies in labour history and social protest – the formation of the British working class, labour custom and traditions, the political radicalism of 19th century shoemakers, male and female images in revolutionary movements, the machine-breakers, revolution and sex, peasants and politics, the rules of violence, the common-sense of Tom Paine.
There are more recent reflections: on the May Day holiday; the Vietnam War; socialism and the avantgarde; Mario Puzo, the Mafia and the Sicilian bandit Salvatore Guiliano; and the cultural consequences of Christopher Columbus. There are tributes to some of jazz’s legendary figures – Count Basie, Sidney Bechet and Dike Ellington – anf the tragic blues-singer Billie Holiday.