on 26 July 2013
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the fabric of the countryside changed profoundly. As the Enclosure Acts swallowed up communal land and smallholdings were bought up by land-hungry squires, farm labourers were forced to seek elsewhere. And so began the migration of the rural poor from the country to become the new working class of the burgeoning urban centres, to dig the coal, stoke the furnaces and operate the looms that powered Britain to the forefront of the new industrial age. An epoch-making period in British history is succintly surveyed in this well-illustrated account.
on 14 July 2015
Although this is an excellent book in this excellent series, the American reviewer Michael Curtis is absolutely right to criticise it as he does. It is the title which is at fault. Unless you realise that this is the 1770-1810 volume in a series intended to cover English history from one end to the other, you would expect this to be a reasonably technical book devoted to the Industrial Revolution, and it isn't.
It's a pity that Amazon is so set up that American potential buyers won't be able to see this review !
The chapter headings of every book in the series are almost the same, for example in Roman Britain they are identical to this one except that there is "Leisure" rather than "Entertainment" (and yet the joys of the Roman arena are as much "entertainment" as cricket or the Vauxhall Gardens).