11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Dark Ages good, Black Death bad?,
This review is from: The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today (Hardcover)
All the small errors of fact aside (was this book actually edited?), I am at a loss to comprehend how Francis Pryor can have taken an identical set of evidence -- the rapid and widespread near-abandonment of arable farming -- and maintain that in the 5th century it was an orderly response to the withdrawal of the Roman Army (numbering just 40,000 in a population numbering as many as 3.5m!) whereas in the 14th century it was one of many symptoms of systemic near-collapse. He does not touch on the 6th century plague or the evidence for a sudden climate cooling (a super-volcano?) in 540AD with obvious consequences on agriculture. Why not?
There are many fine and thought-provoking aspects to this book, however; it just has its blind spots.