In the years since his death in 1996, Raphael Samuel has perhaps been best remembered as the guiding spirit of the History Workshop movement, the founder of History Workshop Journal, and a tireless advocate for a democratised practice of history, built on the recognition that the subject was too important to be left to academic historians alone. But he was also a brilliant historian of nineteenth century Britain and a writer of exceptional eloquence and style.

Those gifts as historian and writer form the focus of Workshop of the World: Essays in People’s History, a new collection of Samuel’s essays, a volume long in the making and now published by Verso, with an introduction by John Merrick. In this episode, John Merrick and historian Sally Alexander, who was Raphael Samuel’s student in the late 1960s, discuss his work, his ongoing relevance, and the rich debates out of which these essays emerge.

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