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on 2 January 2018
Written in 1955, The Making of the English Landscape by William Hoskins is one of the most influential books ever written in that uncertain territory where archaeology, geography and history overlap. By the late 1980s, however, the book was beginning to date and this edition - with a comprehensive commentary by Christopher Taylor - reflects the research which had been given momentum by the original text. In this book, the original chapters are prefaced by thoughtful introductions from Taylor who puts Hoskins' writing into context in a firm but gentlemanly and nuanced fashion - as demonstrated in his opening to his introduction to Chapter One: "Professor Hoskins was somewhat dismissive of the impact and relevance of prehistoric and Roman people in the making of the English landscape. Writing first in 1955 when field archaeology in this country can be said to have been in its infancy, neither he nor anyone else could have had any conception..."
What sets the book apart, however, are Taylor's notes made in the book's generous margins which correct the original text by Hoskins in the same firm but gentlemanly and nuanced fashion. One small example chosen at random should serve: on page 93 Hoskins writes about the founding of Salisbury between 1220 and 1225 while, in the margin, Taylor elaborates on the role of existing roads and the influence of topography on drainage in controlling the detailed grid layout of the city. The detail is exceptional.
I bought this as a replacement copy after lending my original to one of my students and never seeing it again; I can understand why the student in question kept it!
What is needed now is a twenty first century re-write in the same style; where are you, Tony Robinson?
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on 21 October 2015
A foundation text for anyone interested in the history of landscape or who works in the landed sector - Oliver Rackham, Simon Schama and many others were influenced by Hoskin's book that draws on the skills of an academic historian but is beautifully written.

I bought it in the Kindle version, which makes it impossible to appreciate the book properly as you cannot browse it. Buy the paper version.
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on 6 December 2016
It goes without saying that this is a classic of the genre, and one of the few books I retain from my days as a student - over 35 years ago!

Just one point though:

Plate 54 originally concluded with "The photograph was taken on a favourable day or it would not have been taken at all. Imagine being born amid this ugliness: or worse still, buried among it."

As a local, this always amused me, and never a truer word spoken. What a shame it had to be removed.
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on 12 October 2017
Without doubt the late Prof.Hoskins was in a land of his own; just brilliant
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on 19 July 2017
Excellent book!
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on 4 March 2016
This was a boom I was using when I was studying Geography and History. This really fascinated me.
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on 19 December 2017
Prompt delivery and great help with my studies.
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on 4 March 2016
One of dozen or so books on English history that everyone should read. The prose flows across the landscape, and the perspective (from 1955) retains its relevance today.
Having read Hoskins' masterpiece you will never look at a country vista of England in the same way again.
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on 4 August 2017
a slow read
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on 16 August 2017
Good
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