I just like being on my own on trains, traveling. I spent all my pocket money travelling the London Underground and Southern Railway, what used to be the Western region, and in Europe as much as I could afford it. My parents used to think I was going places, but I wasn't, I was just travelling the trains.
I started work on my first French history book in 1969; on 'Socialism in Provence' in 1974; and on the essays in Marxism and the French Left in 1978. Conversely, my first non-academic publication, a review in the 'TLS', did not come until the late 1980s, and it was not until 1993 that I published my first piece in the 'New York Review.'