The title was inspired by the birth, during the writing of this volume, of a child named after the author. A second volume will bring the survey to the present and to some glimpses of that young woman's prospects. The prospect presented here is that of the sleepy young knitter of the 18th century pictured on the cover and of generations before her.
'Much nonsense has been written on this subject', wrote Keith Thomas in a famous and influential footnote to his own pioneering chapter on English witchcraft in Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971).
Simon Szreter's remarkable and very important book argues, in effect, that coincidence has deceived the historians of family sexuality in the period 1860 - 1960. The birth-rate per family in England and Wales declined ever more steeply in this hundred yea r period, and it declined with roughly the same timing and speed in most other European countries.
When confronted with the term 'Illustrated' in a book title, how many historians, I wonder, would not be tempted to inwardly scoff and mentally store the book on the coffee table of their departmental common room? This review begins with a warning against such sentiments.
Agricultural Revolution in England: the Transformation of the Agrarian Economy 1500- 1850. / Mark Overton
This new study of the agricultural revolution is clearly the product of many years of study and research. It is closely argued, liberally illustrated with figures and tables, and tersely written and remarkably compressed. Intended primarily for students, it will repay careful reading, and re-reading, by teachers as well as students of the subject.
Oxford History of the Prison: the Practice of Punishment in Western Society / eds. David Rothman, Norval Morris
"Woman manacled before giving birth" and "Battery hen cells being built for women" are only two of the various horror stories about everyday life in British prisons which have recently hit the headlines. Hardly a week seems to go by without new revelations about dire conditions in prisons both here and across the Atlantic.
As even the most casual observer of the British historical scene must know, the 'agricultural revolution' has proved both elusive and highly contentious. French 'immobilism', on the other hand, has become something of a commonplace, although explanations for this supposed failure are less consensual. Philip Hoffman's very welcome new book has two overriding merits.
''Five million barrels of porter'' (p. 140)
In the cities and towns of eighteenth-century Europe many families from all social classes used the resources and powers of the state to forcibly incarcerate their mad, violent, or simply disorderly members. In this volume Lis and Soly analyse the thousands of petitions and supporting depositions created by this process in the towns of the Austrian Netherlands.
Re-reading some of the earlier essays in this fine collection was to re-visit the site of previous excitements. Age, in this case, has not withered them. They retain a freshness and originality, and are wonderfully complemented by some of the more recent essays published here for the first time.