Common People: The History of an English Family. By Alison Light. Fig Tree; 322 pages; 20. Buy from Amazon.com; Amazon.co.ukONE of the inspirations for Alison Light's book, 'Mrs Woolf and the Servants', which came out in 2007, was her grandmother and her work as a domestic servant in the early years of the 20th century. Here, in 'Common People', are the rest of her family'a miscellaneous collection, stretching as far back as the 18th century, and including needle-makers, washerwomen, bricklayers, shirt-sewers, railwaymen, sailors, postmen, domestic servants and, in every generation, paupers. The workhouse casts a long shadow.'Common People' is an extraordinary piece of research. 'Every life deserves telling,' says Ms Light, an English literature professor at Newcastle University. 'None is without drama and change.' But few of her family left any trace beyond census returns and registrations of baptism, marriage and death. Hunting through the records, she longs for something more: 'I wanted some distinguishing features,' she confesses, 'some sign of an inner life.' But the point of her book lies not so...Continue reading Click here to read full news..