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H&P historians launch new book offering a fresh perspective on British labour history


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Professor Peter Ackers and Dr Alastair Reid with their new book; Alternatives to State-Socialism in Britain.
PHOTO: Professor Peter Ackers and Dr Alastair Reid with their new book; Alternatives to State-Socialism in Britain.

Alternatives to State-Socialism in Britain: Other Worlds of Labour in the Twentieth Century
(Palgrave Macmillan 2016)

Professor Peter Ackers and Dr Alastair Reid introduced their edited collection of essays challenging traditional narratives of twentieth century British labour history at a sold-out event last night at King’s College London.

The book’s essays explore neglected aspects of working class experience and political awareness over the twentieth century - including religious Nonconformity, self-organisation and left libertarianism - and shows how this diversity has been quashed by a narrative focussing on trade unions, nationalisation, class cohesion and secular state-socialism.

As both editors pointed out, this re-examination of Labour history comes at a critical point in the fortunes of the modern Labour party, which appears to be facing choices about its intellectual future.

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With long-established offices in King's College London and the University of Cambridge, H&P is an expanding Partnership currently supported by 6 Higher Education Institutes: King’s College London, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, The University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds, and The University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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