Angus Calder was a prolific author, poet, critic, editor, historian and journalist. He took a degree in English from Kingâs College, Cambridge and a doctorate on Second World War British politics from the University of Sussex. He spent 14 years as a Staff Tutor in Arts with the Open University in Scotland, retiring in 1993 with the title Reader in Cultural Studies. Though throughout his life he taught over the world, spending time at several African universities in particular, he remained â and remains â a highly notable commentator on Scotlandâs literature, history, politics and the very nature of âScottishnessâ.
Angusâs first book, The Peopleâs War: Britain 1939-1945, was published in 1969 and won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewllyn Rhys Prize in 1970. It has been in print ever since, challenging conventional perceptions of wartime Britain, and this flavour of revisionism continued throughout his writings, in later works such as Revolutionary Empire (1981), a survey of the rise of the English-speaking empires from the fifteenth-century to the American War of Independence, and The Myth of the Blitz (1991), demonstrating common understandings of Britainâs Blitz heroism to be mostly based on propaganda. A talented poet, he won a Gregory Award in 1967 and brought out his first collection of poems, Waking in Waikato, in 1995, followed by a book of poems about Edinburgh, Sun behind the Castle, in 2004. Angus was co-editor of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature from 1981 to 1987, an adjudicator to the Saltire Book Awards and a key figure in the establishment of the Scottish Poetry Library.
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