[UCP Books]: Common People


“This is a richly peopled book. . . . Common People is a great deal more than a family history. Light is a literary historian, and her talent here has been to use her skills not just to pursue individuals through the thickets or record offices and county archives, but to set them within their historical era. . . .The achievement of Common People is its triumphant demonstration of the interplay between individual lives and the somber backcloth of economic circumstance. . . . The effect of Common People is to make you aware of the hidden network of anyone’s ancestry. In illuminating her own, Light serves up the most powerful family history I have ever read.”

Penelope Lively, New York Times Book Review


In Pursuit of My Ancestors
Alison Light


Publication date: December 5, 2016 978-0-226-42085-1

“Remarkably gifted at investing bare archival facts with emotional valence, Light delivers a history-from-within that makes readers care deeply. . . . A cross-grained family history that transcends its genre.”
Booklist, starred review


“Light’s book not only offers an insightful account of her proverbial ‘travels through time.’ It also provides a new, more historically nuanced way of thinking about family history. An intelligent, thoughtfully researched memoir.”
Kirkus Reviews


Alison Light is the author of the critically acclaimed Mrs. Woolf and the Servants. She is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books and other publications.


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