Translated by: Yiannis Papadimitriou
Scientific editing and introduction to the Greek edition: Antonis Liakos
Athens 2018, 840 p.
British historian E.P. Thompson, as Edward Palmer Thompson (1924-1993) is better known, had a decisive impact on the development of the discipline of Social History, in particular through his opus The Making of the English Working Class (1963). Thus, titled Η συγκρότηση της αγγλικής εργατικής τάξης, the Greek edition of his book can be hailed as an exceptional event in local book publishing. Thompson’s book remains a reference point in international bibliography and is a necessary bibliographic tool for all those, scholars/researchers or members of the general public, who study or are interested in the historical period of the Industrial Revolution, the technological and economic parameters of that period, but also the field of microhistory, in direct relation to the social process and mankind itself.
The establishment and formation of the working class is a key moment in economic, political and cultural history. It was not simply a corollary of the manufacturing system, nor that of an external force known as the Industrial Revolution, which impacted an amorphous human material and, ultimately, produced a “new race of people”. The changes in production relations and working conditions linked to the industrial revolution were not imposed on unrefined human material, but on the “freeborn Englishman”. The factory hand was the inheritor of remembered village rights, of notions of equality before the law, of craft traditions. In brief, the making of the English working class was moulded by external factors and by the working class itself.