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The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England [Paperback]

Barbara A. Hanawalt
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 12.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 Aug 1989
Using a wealth of fourtenth-century sources, including over 3000 coroners' reports, this is both a richly detailed account of everyday life in the middle ages, and a superb historical study of the medieval family unit - a unit which has survived, largely unchanged, to the present day.

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The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England + Family and Household in Medieval England (Social History in Perspective) + The English Family 1450 - 1700 (Themes In British Social History)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (24 Aug 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195045645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195045642
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 13.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 422,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Barbara A. Hanawalt is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota and author of Crime and Conflict in English Communities, 1300-1348 and editor of Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe.

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England has been broadly divided into two types of field systems, woodland and champion. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bound by the Ties 9 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In an interesting interpretation of what life was like in Medieval England Professor Hanawalt's research is obviously meticulous yet in many instances surprisingly at odds with other equally eminent authorities in this field. As is the case in many fields of our subject we rely mainly on the written records of courts, wills, and other quasi-legal documents that do not always reflect the actions of the general population. My view is that there is central path through all of this that we all tend to miss and as such fail to see the realities of life in the Medieval Period. I found this an interesting and stimulating study which reinforced my belief that we judge too much retrospectively and should give greater consideration to life as it was without the weight of succeeding years influencing the outcome. In many respects Barbara Hanawalt achieves this.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty decent for what it is. 27 Oct 1998
By A Customer
While, admitedly, I don't think I'd read this book without prompting, (I'm having to read it for a class), it is actually rather fascinating. The way in which the author uses coroner's reports to support her claims is particularly interesting, in a morbid sort of way.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on medieval peasants 18 Feb 2005
By Alex P. Kimball - Published on Amazon.com
This is the kind of academic text that can be read for pleasure. Incredibly learned, with a wonderful bibliography, Hanawalt manages to make coroner's reports (the basis of her text) engaging, funny, and illuminating. Never again can you take the image of peasants mucking around in filth as an accurate view of medieval peasant life. Instead, you will find them to be hardworking, ingenious, complex people. Hanawalt explores the material life (houses, lands, etc) as well as the social and economic lives peasants had, all with a great style. Not exactly a light read, but a fun one if medieval studies is your forte. Could use a few more maps, however, so brush up on your medieval English geography. Overall the best book on peasants I've encountered. Highly recommended.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid study 17 April 2008
By Lois Huneycutt - Published on Amazon.com
I have used this book for years as a text in a freshman level class on medieval and early modern Britain. Not only does it provide an in-depth look at the peasant family and community, it really shows how professional historians use sources. The conclusions are not revolutionary any more -- but the fact that this book seems so mainstream now is a testament to how good it really is.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars destroys stereotypes of medieval peasants 12 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book does a great job of getting straight to the peasants themselves and depicting their lives as much as possible instead of lumping them together as all equally miserable, brutish, callous, etc.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lively Analysis of Medieval English Peasants 1 Aug 2008
By Collin Garbarino - Published on Amazon.com
In this book, Hanawalt investigates the peasant family in medieval England, attempting to correct some misconceptions of previous scholarship on the subject. Her thesis is explicit: "the peasant family remained much the same throughout these two centuries of cataclysmic changes [fourteenth and fifteenth] and, moreover, ... the family was able to maintain its basic structure because it was a remarkably flexible institution, permitting the pursuit of a variety of options while retaining the integrity of the unit" (3). Hanawalt's book surveys all aspects of English peasant families.

In the first section of the book, Hanawalt provides an illuminating discussion on the material environment of the English peasantry, e.g., what kinds of fields they cultivated and what kinds of houses they built. The heart of Hanawalt's book comes in the second section where she defines the peasant family. She seeks to destroy what she calls "the myth of extended kinship in the Middle Ages" (83). She claims that English peasants conceived of the family as a relatively compact unit. The basic family structure was the nuclear family, which rarely exceeded five members. In the next two sections, Hanawalt looks at the economics of the family, describing how each member could contribute to the family's needs, and investigates each stage of life for the English peasant. Overall, Hanawalt posits a fairly rosy existence for medieval English peasants.

One interesting aspect of the book is Hanawalt's choice of sources. She uses manorial court rolls and other traditional sources, but she really relies on coroner's reports to flesh out her argument. These coroner's reports give her survey plenty of color, but they also make the book a bit morbid at times. The combination of her upbeat picture of peasant life with a parade of ghastly accidents as evidence gives the reader a sensation of dissonance. Nonetheless, the book is a good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars A very insightful book 20 Feb 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of my all time favorite books! I love the histoy of this time period and this book seems to bring happenings to light that I would have never guessed went on and the difficulty of living in this time. If you love history you will love this book!
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