In 1981 he published Revolutionary Empire (1981), a study of three centuries of imperial development by English speakers to the end of the 18th century. Revolving Culture: Notes from the Scottish Republic is a collection of essays on Scottish topics which expressed itself through the writings of such figures as Burns and Scott and in gestures of realpolitik such as the repression of "Jacobins" during the French Revolution. In 1984 Calder helped to set up the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh and served as its first convener. He also worked as an editor of Hugh MacDiarmid's prose.
The Myth of The Blitz (1991) argued that received ideas of the civilian population's reaction to the bombing of London still reflected wartime propaganda. Calder examined how the German bombings generated ideas and images of plucky and stoical suffering and resistance that defined post-war Britain's sense of itself; but it also showed that the "chirpy Cockney", "all pull together" stereotypes were partly propaganda which hid the reality of an inequality of suffering due to deep social divisions, and concealed unheroic stories of opportunistic looting and rape.
A nationalist and socialist, he moved from the SNP to the Scottish Socialist Party, and though he cherished the Scottish republican spirit, he sought to challenge some of the popular myths surrounding the country's sense of national identity. In Revolving Culture: Notes from a Scottish republic (1992) he described the development, during the early stages of the Union with England, of an "intellectual republic" forged by a combination of insularity and lack of English interest in Scottish affairs.
In 1997 he edited Time to Kill — the Soldier's Experience of War in the West 1939-1945 with Paul Addison; Scotlands of the Mind (2002); Disasters and Heroes: On War, Memory and Representation (2004); and Gods, Mongrels and Demons: 101 Brief but Essential Lives (2004), a collection of potted biographies of "creatures who have extended my sense of the potentialities, both comic and tragic, of human nature". He had always published verse and won a Gregory Award for his poetry in 1967.
A distinctive "Scottish social ethos" informed the activities of prominent Scots in the years of Empire, when they had invested heavily in the concept of Britishness, though he felt that the Scots had meddled much more overweeningly with the English sense of identity than the English ever did with the Scots'. He was delighted to discover that the game had been introduced to Sri Lanka by a Scot.
In 1971, after the publication of The People's War, the Calders moved to Edinburgh, where he published Russia Discovered, a survey of 19th-century Russian fiction in 1976, and, three years later, became staff tutor in Arts with the Open University. The Calders had a son and two daughters.
A weakness for the bottle destroyed his first marriage in 1982 and moved to Scotland where his alcoholism forced his early retirement from the Open University where he had worked for 14 years. He also had a son by a short-lived second marriage to Kate Kyle.
He died from lung cancer on 5 June 2008, aged 66.
Angus Calder: An Appreciation: When the People's War Was Published in 1969 on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Outbreak of the Second World War, It Set a Gold Standard for Home Front Studies That Has Never Been Equalled. It Has Remained in Print Ever since, Read for Nearly Forty Years by Those Who Remembered and Those Who Never Knew
Sep 01, 2008; [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A young man's book, since its author, Angus Calder, who died of lung cancer aged sixty-six on June 5th,...
BOOK: Big Macs Deliver a Feast of Fiction - No Great Mischief by Alistair Macleod Jonathan Cape, Pounds 15.99, 262pp ; Angus Calder Relishes a Clan's Epic Journey from the Highlands to Canada and Beyond
Aug 19, 2000; AN UNUSUAL feature of Alistair Macleod's exceptional novel is that so many important characters go without Christian names. Even...
Essay: Scotland Says No to Quangos, Consultants and Dodgy MBAs A Modest Proposal for the New Edinburgh Parliament: Fund the Arts Democratically. by Angus Calder
Apr 25, 1999; Watching Channel 4's attempt last week to settle on the names of the 100 most powerful people in the New Scotland, one waited for...
Books: Chips off the Old Block: Our Fathers by Andrew O'Hagan Faber & Faber, Pounds 16.99, 282pp beneath the High-Rise Estates of Urban Scotland Lies the Enduring Land: Angus Calder Acclaims a Novel That Builds on the Foundations of History
Mar 06, 1999; BY ANY standards, Our Fathers is a powerful novel. As a first novel, it is very remarkable indeed. Yes, it is in the...