For generation upon generation, the English farm labourer lived a life of poverty and degradation. Centuries came and went, but the lives of the rural poor remained essentially unaltered. With the onset of the industrial revolution, however, new forces came into play, which were to lead to profound change across society, including the world of the poor farm labourer and yeoman farmer. As capitalism penetrated ever deeper into the countryside, tension reached breaking point. From 1830 onwards, rural England was shaken by a series of uprisings known as the "Swing". There were riots across the counties of southern and eastern England, machinery was wrecked, and farm buildings set alight. Captain Swing is the history of these uprisings, the people who made them and what subsequently became of them. It is the history of the rural poor of England and of lives without trace. And, in charting the rise and fall of the "Swing" uprisings, it is also a compelling account of the triumph of rural capitalism in the early nineteenth century. First published in 1969, Captain Swing has long been regarded as a classic work of English history.