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The People Speak


A Message from Anthony Arnove

My new book with Colin Firth, THE PEOPLE SPEAK: VOICES THAT CHANGED BRITAIN, is just out from Canongate Books.

The book, inspired by the work of people’s historian Howard Zinn, is a documentary collection of dramatic voices of protest and dissent from the twelfth century to the present.

You can read about the book here:

There are some very moving readings and musical performances — including by Vanessa Redgrave, a last-minute surprise guest — from our launch event here:

Great photos from the event can be viewed here:

An excerpt of Colin Firth’s introduction and some selections from the book can be found here:

And you can check out our BBC Culture Show profile here:

I hope the book might be of interest.




The People Speak tells the story of Britain through the voices of the visionaries, dissenters, rebels and everyday folk who took on the Establishment and stood up for what they believed in. Here are their stories, letters, speeches and songs, from John Ball to Daniel Defoe; from Thomas Paine to Oscar Wilde; from the peasants’ revolts to the suffragists to the anti-war demonstrators of today. Spanning almost one thousand years and over 150 individual voices, these are some of the most powerful words in our history.

Colin Firth (CBE) is a Bafta- and Academy Award-winning actor. His films include The English Patient, Fever Pitch, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Girl with a Pearl Earring, A Single Man and The King’s Speech. Alongside Anthony Arnove, he was instrumental in bringing a televised stage performance of The People Speak to the UK in 2010.

Anthony Arnove is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, editor of Iraq Under Siege, Howard Zinn Speaks and The Essential Chomsky, and co-author, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States and Terrorism and War. He is the co-director of The People Speak with Chris Moore and Howard Zinn.

David Horspool is a historian and editor at the Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of two previous books: Why Alfred Burned the Cakes and The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Trouble-making from the Normans to the Nineties. He writes for The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the New York Times.


‘The People Speak’ at Canongate Books:




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Glenn Rikowski’s paper, Critical Pedagogy and the Constitution of Capitalist Society has been published at Heathwood Press as a Monthly Guest Article for September 2012, online at:


Heathwood Press:





PETER LANG – International Academic Publishers are pleased to announce a new book by
Matthew Beaumont 
THE SPECTRE OF UTOPIA: Utopian and Science Fictions at the “Fin de Siècle”

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. XII, 307 pp.
Ralahine Utopian Studies. Vol. 12
Edited by Raffaella Baccolini, Joachim Fischer, Tom Moylan and Michael J. Griffin

pb. ISBN 978-3-0343-0725-3
CHF 63.00 / €(D) 47.50 / €(A) 48.80 / € 44.40 / £ 40.00 / US-$ 66.95
€(D) includes VAT – only valid for Germany  /  €(A) includes VAT – only valid for Austria  

In the late nineteenth century, a spectre haunted Europe and the United States: the spectre of utopia. This book re-examines the rise of utopian thought at the “fin de siècle”, situating it in the social and political contradictions of the time and exploring the ways in which it articulated a deepening sense that the capitalist system might not be insuperable after all. The study pays particular attention to Edward Bellamy’s seminal utopian fiction, “Looking Backward” (1888), embedding it in a number of unfamiliar contexts, and reading its richest passages against the grain, but it also offers detailed discussions of William Morris, H.G. Wells and Oscar Wilde. Both historical and theoretical in its approach, this book constitutes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the utopian imaginary, and an original analysis of the counter-culture in which it thrived at the fin de siècle.

Utopian fiction – Science fiction – Disaster fiction – Radical publishing – Feminism – Socialism – Occultism.

“Matthew Beaumont is one of the most brilliant of the younger generation of English critics. His work on late Victorian culture puts him among the most suggestive and original scholars of the period. While focused on Bellamy, this wide-ranging study encompasses a rich variety of authors and intellectual currents, all dealing with the elusive but utterly essential idea of utopia. In its theoretical sophistication and historical depth, Beaumont’s work is both innovative and illuminating” (Terry Eagleton, Distinguished Professor of English at Lancaster University and author of ‘Trouble with Strangers’ and ‘Why Marx Was Right’)

“So much has been written about Looking Backward and late nineteenth-century utopian literature that one wonders if these topics can ever come to us fresh again. Beaumont answers this question by placing Bellamy’s utopia within significant yet rarely studied publication and reception contexts, such as the London Bellamy Library books series designed to educate working-class readers, and by presenting utopia as a constructively troubling spectre, a ghost evaluating the readers’ present by haunting them with a sense of the absence of a suppressed better world existing somewhere between possibility and impossibility. Thus Beaumont does refresh utopia for us” (Kenneth Roemer, Piper Professor, University of Texas at Arlington and author of ‘The Obsolete Necessity: America in Utopian Writings, 1888-1900’ and ‘Utopian Audiences’)

“This is a rich and provocative book in which Beaumont challenges conventional readings of utopian writing at the turn of the twentieth century. Written with insight and clarity, it provides fresh perspectives and unsettles old certainties. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with the cultural context of the time” (Ruth Levitas, Professor of Sociology, University of Bristol and author of ‘The Concept of Utopia’)

Matthew Beaumont is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at University College London.

You can order this book online. Please click on the link below:
Direct order:
Or you may send your order to:

International Academic Publishers
Moosstrasse 1
P.O. Box 350
CH-2542 Pieterlen
Tel +41 (0)32 376 17 17
Fax +41 (0)32 376 17 27


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a new song by Victor Rikowski:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Rikowski Point:


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