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Making of the English Landscape [Paperback]

W.G. Hoskins
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Dec 2005
W.G. Hoskins was one of the most original and influential historians of the 20th century. He realized that landscapes are the richest record we have of the past, and with his masterpiece, The Making of the English Landscape, he changed forever how we experience the places we live and work.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd; New Ed edition (5 Dec 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340770201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340770207
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 546,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book lets you feel more intelligent. 2 Jan 2001
Numerous pictures and the chronological layout aid the clarity of description that the author brings to a topic that he clearly loves. I found it fascinating and illuminating, explaining the everyday countryside. The parochial nature of the book mentioned in the previous review was not evident to myself, but I am sure that you should buy this book and provide a third opinion!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
For me, reading the Pelican edition in 1970 sparked a lifelong interest in the history, meaning and aesthetic of the landscape. Yes, it is 'parochial' in some ways - but if you're studying English local history the detail of a Parish (or a farm, or a field) is an appropriate unit of study. Yes. it has more to say about some places than others, but that's because it is based on painstaking personal observation and research. The magic of this little book is that by focussing on detail it gives a glimpse of the incredibly complex history of the use of the land and the relationship between our everyday surroundings and our history.

My only criticism is that in the final chapter Hoskins descends into some rather despondent criticism of change during his lifetime. Though many might agree about the insensitivity of post-war 'development', it's a shame that he couldn't see this to some extent in historical perspective, comparing it perhaps with the 'vandalism' of earlier townscapes by Georgian then Victorian developers. Not everything that happened to the landscape in the 20th Century was bad, though one can understand the concern of a historian that too much of the record was being lost, too quickly.

Buy this book, read it carefully and quietly and you might see your surroundings with new eyes. But to see the landscape as Hoskins saw it, you'll have to get out of the car and walk, stop, take your time, look, look again and be curious about what you see.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By J C E Hitchcock TOP 1000 REVIEWER
William George Hoskins (1908-1992) was a pioneering figure in the field of English local history, and in 1965 was appointed as the first ever university professor in that discipline (at the University of Leicester). This book, first published in 1955, has become something of a classic of its kind.

I bought it in the 1970s Pelican edition when I came across it recently in a second-hand bookshop, largely for the purposes of comparison with Oliver Rackham's more recent work "The History of the Countryside". The two works cover slightly different ground. Hoskins (as his title indicates) limits himself to England, and does not touch on Wales, Scotland or Ireland; Rackham covers the whole of the British Isles, although in practice he deals with England in greater detail than the other three countries. Rackham (as his title indicates) confines himself to the countryside, whereas Hoskins also covers industrial and urban landscapes, and even in rural areas deals with villages and the built environment as well as woods and farmland. Their methodologies are also different. Rackham devotes a chapter to each different type of rural habitat- woodland, fields, heathland, moorland, marshes, etc, whereas Hoskins' book is written in chronological order from prehistoric times to the twentieth century.

A key moment for Professor Hoskins was what he calls the "English Settlement"- the coming of the Anglo-Saxon invaders in the fifth century AD, after the withdrawal of the Roman legions. Few features of the modern English landscape can, in his view, be attributed to the Roman or pre-Roman period. Each succeeding age, however, has left a mark which still survives.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This was a pioneering study when it was first published in 1955. It dispelled earlier thoughts that the english landscape was almost entirely a creation of 18th century land use. Hoskins' book is a very readable one, mixing fine detail with a hand book like approach. The majority of field work was done by Hoskins on the ground, which allows for a unique insight into the historical make up of the countryside. The reader must, however, bear in mind that Hoskins account is not one stemming from a detatched ,scientific observer, but a human beeing that is passionate about certain facets of the countryside. For instance, it is clear that Hoskins does not have a love of anything in the modern era. Further more, the Victorian era is looked down upon. Care should be taken when considering the spatial distributions of some of the features he mentions, there is a tendancy for some areas of England to be more heavily studied than others, for instance his home county of Devon, and the area around Leicester where he worked for many years. All in all, the book is a reletively thourough account of the historical fabric of the English landscape in a very readable format.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The grandaddy of landscape history 9 April 2007
This book has been updated on a number of occasions so make sure you get the latest version, Amazon sent me an earlier version that was no use at all. Since then I have acquired the corrected version that updates Hoskins to more recent finds and it really proves what a pioneer he was, how astute some of his work was and how much the science of landscape studies has advanced. This book is a must for all students and brings forward that nothing within the landscape stands in isolation and there is virtually nothing in the English landscape that has not been put there by man. Read this book first then you will become a better landscpae historian and archaeologist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
THE classic!
Published 14 days ago by SFBatYFH
5.0 out of 5 stars They are books which if they were bad I would not buy
They are books which if they were bad I would not buy them
Published 20 days ago by Bored
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I found this book very interesting. It drew my attention to areas of landscape I had assumed natural and yet as Hoskins points out, a lot of what we regard as natural landscape has... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Wendy White
5.0 out of 5 stars The Making of the English Landscape Cusomer Review
I chose this rating because it was delivered in pristine condition and it was not damaged. it would make perfect reading material for any landscape archaeologist or university... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bethan Wallbank
5.0 out of 5 stars Item Promptly received
Item Promptly received & as described many thanks husband really pleased with his little pressie, on the plus side I get to read too! :0)!
Published 10 months ago by monique kerr
5.0 out of 5 stars A very accessible academic study
This has clear roots in the academic world, and the author has been made what could be a dry subject superbly accessible to the lay reader. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2011 by Harklestone
5.0 out of 5 stars Speedy & just as it said on the tin! :)
I ordered this book at the last minute when i had an assignment due in in a week and didnt really expect it to arrive on time but it did!! i was so pleased! Read more
Published on 20 May 2011 by anna timperley
5.0 out of 5 stars English Landscape
A classic introduction to understanding the English Landscape by the one of the key thinkers and innovators.
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by Dr. Jeremy D. Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Making of the English Landscape
Published on 7 Oct 2009 by J. Luke
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