Why, I wondered, before I began reading, had Marqusee titled his collection of essays the price of experience, and not the cost? But I realised a price is something that you pay, with thought; it denotes value. A cost is extracted, willy nilly. And that thoughtfulness, that attention to exactitude, is evident in every page of this small, immensely readable series of essays, whose value is in direct relation to the depth of the experience from which they are drawn. It was, indeed, only after plunging through the essays themselves, that I sensed the force of the Blake poem ‘What is the price of experience’ with which Marqusee prefaces his collection.

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