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Angus Calder


1942 - 2008

Historian, author, nationalist and educator. Born at Sutton (Surrey, England), the son of author and peace-campaigner Peter Ritchie Calder (Lord Ritchie-Calder of Balmashanner; 1906-82), Calder was educated at Wallington County Grammar School, King's College (Cambridge) and Sussex University. After marrying Jenni Daiches, daughter of the distinguished literary historian Professor David Daiches (1912 - 2005), the couple settled in Edinburgh. In 1979 he became a staff member of the Open University in Scotland.

A committed nationalist and socialist, his allegiances moved from the SNP to the Scottish Socialist Party, and his political views gave rise to his book In Revolving Culture: Notes from a Scottish Republic (1992). He was a founder of the Scottish Poetry Library in 1984.

Calder's output was prodigious; his acclaimed The People's War: Britain 1939- 1945 (1969) was a defining social history of the Second World War in Britain, winning him the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1970. Other historical works included Revolutionary Empire (1981), The Myth of the Blitz (1991), Disasters and Heroes: On War, Memory and Representation (2004) and Gods, Mongrels and Demons: 101 Brief but Essential Lives (2004). His literary criticism included works on Robert Burns (1759-96), Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978), Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94). He also wrote five volumes of poetry.

He died in Edinburgh.


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