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.
Courts and Conflict in Twelfth-Century Tuscany is the first English version, slightly revised, of a study that was previously published in an Italian translation (Legge, Practiche e Conflitti [Rome: Viella libreria editrice, 2000]).
In the 1990s medieval historians were very preoccupied with border studies. No sooner had the dust settled on the collapse of the Berlin Wall than medievalists were taking advantage of no frills air travel to jet off and discuss borders, frontiers and marches.
This book is the result of a bold and innovative research project funded between 1999 and 2002 by the then Arts and Humanities Research Board, with further funds provided subsequently by a number of scholarly institutions. The preface further acknowledges the support of a glittering array of scholars, not least Geoffrey Parker who read through the entire draft.