When comparing European agriculture in the early 1960s with that existing before the First World War, two principal differences are evident. Firstly, the productivity of agriculture in the 1960s was considerably higher, principally as the consequence of the intensive use of modern technologies such as modern machinery, fertilisers, pesticides or hybrid seeds.
It is a prerequisite that prosperous, expanding towns need to maintain a secure and ample food supply. How towns managed this issue, drawing foodstuffs from both their immediate hinterland and from further afield, and the resultant effect upon agricultural productivity are examined in this collection of 11 papers.
This collection of essays forms an excellent Festschrift for Professor John Hatcher, whose eclectic range of research is displayed by the volume’s division into three parts: the first explores the medieval demographic system; the second charts the changing relationship between lords and peasants; and the third highlights the fortunes of trade and industry after the Black Death.
Professor Dyer’s A Country Merchant represents the development of several emerging themes in late medieval and early modern history: for one, the increasing recognition of the long 15th century, and especially the period roughly framed by the reign of Henry VII, as an important ‘Age of Transition’, most eloquently highlighted in his own book of that title.(1)
The 1870s and 1880s were formative decades in the development of Irish nationalist identity. The land and national movements mobilized the countryside on a scale not seen since the days of Daniel O’Connell. Despite a significant corpus of work being produced between the 1970s and mid 1990s, scholarship on this significant period in modern Irish history has become stagnant in recent years.
The Land Question in Britain, 1750–1950, is that rare collection of essays which is more than the sum of its parts; 14 essays by different authors, all of which connect with each other to reveal a hidden picture of a topic that has inexplicably dropped from view.
To study Russia before the late 19th century is to labour under a twofold handicap.
The request to review Professor James Vernon’s book brings to mind John Betjeman’s verses in the style of George R. Sims:
Horse and Man in Early Modern England presents itself as an historical overview of its subject-matter rather than as a brief for particular methodologies, ideologies or causes.
A gentleman should never tell, but Food in Early Modern England is published 50 years after the appearance of Joan Thirsk's first book, English Peasant Farming (1957). Between those dates, Thirsk has published, edited and contributed to a formidable list of volumes and journals.