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Voices of the Lowly

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One of the books covered this week by Reviews in History is Memory of War in France, 1914–45: César Fauxbras, the Voice of the Lowly by Matthew Perry, which aims to bring to attention the voice and viewpoint of a dissident French intellectual who lived through both World Wars.

This can be seen to be in the tradition of E. P. Thompson‘s The Making of the English Working Class, in which he sought to rescue ordinary people from the ‘enormous condescension of posterity’, and the ‘history from below’ practised by the likes of Raphael Samuel. LinkThere are also more typically theoretical continental influences at work. Perry draws on the philosophy of cultural hegemony outlined by Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci, as well as ideas of discourse and power associated with Michel Foucault, but it is interesting that the product is a biography, a form of history very much back in vogue among academics on this side of the channel.