Stuart Hall grew up in a middle-class family in 1930s Jamaica, still then a British colony. He found himself caught between two worlds: the stiflingly respectable middle class in Kingston, who, in their habits and ambitions, measured themselves against the white planter elite; and working-class and peasant Jamaica, neglected and grindingly poor, though rich in culture, music and history. But as colonial rule was challenged, things began to change in Kingston and across the world. When, in 1951, a scholarship took him across the Atlantic to Oxford University, Hall encountered other Caribbean writers and thinkers, from Sam Selvon and George Lamming to V.S. Naipaul. He also forged friendships with the likes of Raymond Williams and E.P. Thompson, with whom he worked in the formidable political movement, the New Left.