Uncommon People
Resistance, Rebellion and Jazz

Hobsbawm, Eric
Publisher:  Weidenfield & Nicholson, London, United Kingdom
Year Published:  1998  
Pages:  360pp   ISBN:  0-297-81916-X
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX7701

Essays on the history of working men and women from the late 18th to the late twentieth century discussing British working class traditions, political radicalism of 19th century shoemakers, peasants and politics, revolution, sex and jazz.

Abstract:  Eric Hobsbawm's Uncommon People: Resistance, Rebellion and Jazz is a collection of twenty-six essays ranging over the history of working men and women from the late 18th to the late twentieth century. Discussing British working class traditions, political radicalism of 19th century shoemakers, peasants and politics, revolution, sex and jazz, Hobsbawm covers a wide spectrum highlighting aspects often overlooked and underwritten by historians. The author believes that during the twentieth century, individuals collectively acted as major historical actors, shaping history, popular culture and society as never before. The rise of the working class, labour rights, Victorian values and socialism encompass the larger aspects of the era in which Hobsbawm weaves his essays.

Uncommon People is broken down into four sections; The Radical Tradition, Country People, Contemporary History and Jazz. The first section examines the rise of left wing socialism, the working class and the growth of the labour movement. Country People presents the role of peasants in politics and voices their discontent during a rapidly urbanizing period. Contemporary History points to guerilla warfare in Viet Nam, Communism and revolution while the final section documents the rise of Jazz and its influence on Europe.

The central themes throughout Hobsbawm's work question how common individuals were shaped by their past and present, what the rationale of their beliefs and actions were, and how, in turn, they shaped their societies and histories. Focusing on the shoemakers, the peasants, the bartenders and the everyday citizens, Hobsbawm's Uncommon People explores the lives commoners, highlighting their contributions to society, politics and popular culture since the 19th century.

[Abstract by William Stevenson]



Table of Contents

Preface

The Radical Tradition
1. Tom Paine
2. The Machine-Breakers
3. Political Shoemakers
4. Labour Traditions
5. The Making of the Working Class, 1870-1914
6. Victorian Values
7. Man and Woman: Images on the Left
8. Birth of a Holiday: the first of May
9. Socialism and the Avant-Garde, 1880-1914
10. The Left's Megaphone

Country People
11. Peasants and Politics
12. Peasant Land Occupations
13. The Bandit Giuliano

Contemporary History
14. Vietnam and the Dynamics of Guerrilla War
15. May 1968
16. The Rules of Violence
17. Revolution and Sex
18. Epitaph for a Villain: Roy Cahn

Jazz
19. The Caruso of Jazz
20. Count Basie
21. The Duke
22. Jazz Comes to Europe
23. The People's Swing
24. Jazz Since 1960
25. Billie Holiday

26. The Old World and the New: 500 Years of Columbus

Notes
Index

Subject Headings