Welcome to this website. I am a  social historian of modern Britain and Europe and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Manchester.

Patrick Joyce - Social Historian

I have recently completed Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished WorldTo be published by Allen Lane/The Penguin Press in the UK and Scribner/Simon and Schuster in the USA, February 2024. In the book I consider how peasants in advanced western societies are now being lost to memory after millenia of time as the dominant social group. This is a loss we all share. The writing invokes the Irish peasant past of my forbears but sets this in the context of the end of the European peasantry, west and east. Why should we remember, and how are peasants remembered now?

You can contact me at patrickjoyce2@gmail.com


Penguin Press Released 15/02/2024
Simon & Schuster Released 20/2/24

Remembering Peasants - Patrick Joyce

Remembering Peasants


A dozen pages in I realized that I had been waiting for much of my life to read this extraordinary book. Anyone who has ever tried to unravel the intertwined skeins of ancestry, sociology, music, geography and history will gape at Joyce’s skill. On almost every page the reader gets a jolt, a palpable sensation of immersion in the disappeared world of peasantry. A central part of the book is Joyce’s own family’s peasant past. I too, like many people, am only two generations and one language away from these ancestors. Because the time of the peasants is still palpable there are clues and messages here for every fortunate reader who picks up this book.
Annie Proulx

Remembering Peasants, interviews, features,  and reviews:
(Click on the links to download the pdf documents.)


The Guardian.

The Irish Times.


“NYT Book Review -Remembering Peasants, by Patrick Joyce” – The New York Times.

“Remembering Peasants, by Patrick Joyce – a review – the slow death of Europe’s earth toilers.” The Times.

“Literary Review: They ploughed the fields and scattered”


“How England’s peasantry was betrayed by the middle classes.”

More Reviews:

“A first-class work combining social history and ethnohistory with an unerring sense for a good story.”

“An insightful and evocative homage to the peasant way of life… Readers will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


In recent writing I have combined history, memoir,  and photography in my Going to my Father’s House: A History of My Times. Published by Verso, Spring 2021.

Going to my Father’s House

A history of my times – published 27th July 2021

Buy from AmazonCritical reception, Going to My Father’s House:Observer Books of the Year, 2021, Colm Toibin,

I enjoyed Going to My Father’s House, a haunting meditation on Ireland and England, war and migration, Derry and Manchester. I admired the originality of his observations and his tone of melancholy, calm wisdom.

Terry Eagleton, Hegel would have enjoyed the way he lets a sharply delineated life distil a whole social history.

Seamus Deane,Style like this is a triumph and it does have a transformative effect. This is a rare kind of writing. Only a voice such as this can alert us to these historical worlds.

Paul Ginsborg, I can’t think of another historian around who could write something so suggestive and profound, so much on both a minor and major scale, constantly tracing the connections between the two.

Claire Connolly, Irish Times, There is a fierce frankness to Joyce’s book: he has made his choices. Along with an unmistakable authenticity in the telling and real urgency in the analysis, this is a book to read for the pleasure of mind and memory at work.”


Photograph of Patrick Joyce by Jon Super