> Skip to content
  • Published: 9 October 2014
  • ISBN: 9780241145913
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

Common People




Shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize

'A remarkable achievement...should become a classic.' - Margaret Drabble

'Light writes beautifully...Common People is part memoir, part thrilling social history of the England of the Industrial Revolution, but above all a work of quiet poetry and insight into human behaviour. It is full of wisdom.' - The Times Book of the Week

Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond.

Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new kind of public history, following the lives of the migrants who travelled the country looking for work. Original and eloquent, it is a timely rethinking of who the English were - but ultimately it reflects on history itself, and on our constant need to know who went before us and what we owe them.
%%%Shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize
'A remarkable achievement...should become a classic.' - Margaret Drabble
'Light writes beautifully...Common People is part memoir, part thrilling social history of the England of the Industrial Revolution, but above all a work of quiet poetry and insight into human behaviour. It is full of wisdom.' - The Times Book of the Week
Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond.
Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new kind of public history, following the lives of the migrants who travelled the country looking for work. Original and eloquent, it is a timely rethinking of who the English were - but ultimately it reflects on history itself, and on our constant need to know who went before us and what we owe them.

  • Published: 9 October 2014
  • ISBN: 9780241145913
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

About the author

Alison Light

Alison Light is the author of Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism between the Wars and edited Virginia Woolf's Flush for Penguin Classics. She has worked at the BBC and lectured at London University. She is currently a part-time Professor at the Raphael Samuel History Centre in the University of East London and also teaches in the School of English at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She is a contributor to the London Review of Books.

Also by Alison Light

See all

Related titles