Thursday, 1 December 2016

From Pluto Press - People's History Book Series

Pluto Press are beginning a new series - the People's History Book Series - 'restoring the role of ordinary people in their own history'.

It is well known that most history is written from the standpoint of the victor. History is viewed from the perspective of the rich and powerful, and the actions of small numbers of people, generally white men, are seen to dictate the course of world affairs. History of this kind continues to dominate both academic and popular literature, despite challenges from historians who have tried to write history from different perspectives, including that of ordinary women and men. 

Whether it was E.P. Thompson in England or Howard Zinn in the United States, this ‘history from below’ is noted, at times even celebrated,but ultimately put back on the shelf while historians return to writing books and articles that lead more easily to research funding and professorial appointments. 

But there are deeper reasons for the neglect of what we are calling ‘people’s history’. It is quite simply easier to write about Prime Ministers, great industrialists and their ilk. They often write memoirs, leave their papers to archives or, in the case of U.S. Presidents,create their own libraries to house all the data they wish to make public from their career. Writing history from below is a challenge because the historical record is scattered and largely neglected. 

But it is a challenge worth taking up. This Pluto Press series is both an attempt to view history from the perspective of ordinary people, and also an exploration of how the actions of common women and men, as individuals or through forms of collective organization, influence the course of history. Books published in the series will focus on the masses of humanity rather than the designated heroes, or villains,of world civilization. Our books seek to shine a light on that which, as a feminist historian once said of women’s history, has been hidden from history. 

For further information about the series, or to submit proposals, please email David Castle , Senior Commissioning Editor at Pluto Press ( or Series Editor, William A. Pelz (

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