--- First biography of the political activist and acclaimed musician -- Sometimes described as `the British Brecht', Ewan MacColl (1915-1989) was a major twentieth-century political artist. He became a communist at fourteen and spent six decades at the cultural forefront of numerous political struggles, producing plays, songs and radio programmes on subjects ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the Poll Tax. A founder-member of Theatre Workshop, MacColl was the acclaimed company's resident dramatist, and his plays won the admiration of contemporaries including George Bernard Shaw, Sean O'Casey and Hugh MacDiarmid. He went on to become the principal creative force behind the award-winning Radio Ballads and a leading figure in the post-war British folk revival. Best kwn as a singer and songwriter, MacColl standards such as `Dirty Old Town' and `The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' have been covered by artists from Roberta Flack to Johhny Cash and The Pogues.This is the first biography of MacColl, and was prepared with the authorisation of his collaborator and widow, Peggy Seeger. Drawing on extensive research, Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl is a freshly conceived and energetically written account of a highly creative and controversial activist.
Ben Harker is Lecturer in English and Cultural Studies at the University of Salford. This is his first book.