Things past

June 30, 2016

Professor Barbara Taylor recalls that the late Raphael Samuel was “impatient with the way history was taught at Oxford, where the syllabus included little about working people” (“Death of radical historian Raphael Samuel marked by major event”, News, 23 June).

This is not the Oxford history syllabus that I recognise. As a student there (1962-68), my enthusiasm was fired by teachers such as A. F. Thompson (joint author of the Oxford A History of British Trade Unions), who encouraged me to research working-class opposition to socialism and the willing part played by manual workers in breaking strikes.

These themes may well not have been to the liking of comrades like Samuel. They were authentic nonetheless.

Geoffrey Alderman
Professor of politics and history
University of Buckingham

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