The essays in this book, many of which are either out-of-print or difficult to obtain, were written between 1955 and 1963 during one of the most fertile periods of E. P. Thompson’s intellectual and political life, when he wrote his two great works, The Making of the English Working Class and William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. They reveal Thompson’s insistence on the vitality of a humanistic and democratic socialism along with the value of utopian thinking in radical politics. Throughout, Thompson struggles to open a space independent of official Communist Parties and reformist Social Democratic Parties, opposing them with a vision of socialism built from the bottom up. Editor Cal Winslow, who studied with Thompson, provides context for the essays in a detailed introduction and reminds us why this eloquent and inspiring voice remains so relevant to us today.
Protest and Survive is a powerful gift to the growing American movement from European Nuclear Disarmament (END), which E.P. Thompson helped to found, drafting the mobilizing documents. The book originated as a reaction to “Protect and Survive,” a take-cover pamphlet prepared in 1980 by British civil defense. The volume contains historian E.P. Thompson’s “A Letter to America,” and 11 other essays exploring the arms race, nuclear war, military bureaucracy and the prospects for peacemaking.
This classic collection of essays by E.P. Thompson, one of England’s most renowned socialist voices, remains a staple text in the history of Marxist theory. The bulk of the book is dedicated to Thompson’s famous polemic against Louis Althusser and what he considers the reductionism and authoritarianism of Althusserian structuralism. In lively and erudite prose, Thompson argues for a self-critical and unapologetically humanist Marxist tradition. Also included are three essays of considerable importance to the development of the New Left.