'Ranging across language, landscape, politics, poetry and literature, David Rollison provides an important and powerful history of the development of pre-modern England. A Commonwealth of the People is a fascinating account of the development of the politics of 'commonweal': how, from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, the voices of common people became both 'English' and 'communal'. In its scope and imagination, this is an exemplary work of socio-cultural history, both deeply reflective on the process of doing history, and profoundly engaged with the historical landscape it seeks to uncover.' John Arnold, Professor of Medieval History, Birkbeck College
'An ambitious and distinctly interesting attempt to provide a new framework for the early modern period.' Keith Wrightson, Professor of History, Yale University
'This is a big, bold enclosure riot of a book. Like rebels breaking down fences separating them from their common land, David Rollison transgresses long-established conventions and boundaries in the historical discipline. In A Commonwealth of the People, Rollison fractures divisions between the medieval and early modern periods, levels distinctions between social and political history, takes constitutional history on a sharp linguistic turn, and merges the local with the global. Rollison will incur the wrath of those who have an investment in the maintenance of the enclosure of the historical discipline. He also does a great job of rewriting an integrated history of medieval and early modern England from the bottom up. This book represents a defining moment in the new social history of politics.' Andy Wood, Professor of Social History, University of East Anglia
This book argues that the succession of crises from the Norman Conquest to the English Revolution were causal links and chains of collective memory in a populist movement which saw state institutions and elites made answerable to a greater community that was once called 'commonwealth' but is now called 'society'.