Hugh Thomas tells us that he began writing this book over three decades ago, following an encounter with Eric Williams, then Prime Minister of Trinidad. Williams gave him a copy of his classic work Capitalism and Slavery, first published in 1944, which argued that profits from slavery had fertilised every sector of the British economy and made possible the Industrial Revolution. The literary and intellectual power of this work was such that it moved Thomas to embark on an area of study which other British historians were abandoning. However central colonial slavery and the Atlantic slave trade may have been to national enterprise in the eighteenth century, the attention paid to it by British historians has dwindled over recent decades to the point where it is no longer taught in schools or in most universities.
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With just a few days to go until the first issue of the new decade, does anyone recognise the stern figure on our February cover?
'Fiona Shaw, in Jonathan Miller’s production, is the best shrew I have seen. She starts off in a mustard yellow dress with a mustard sharp tongue.'
From the archive, Kate Kellaway on a 1988 production of 'The Taming of the Shrew'.
'He was not a revolutionary at all of course. He was only marginally a socialist. His tradition was rooted in the Liberal aristocracy, and his politics were entirely bounded by Parliament.'
From the archive, Paul Foot on Tony Benn's diaries.