He examines the impact of the First World War, the role of agriculture throughout the century, and the expectations of the countryside that modern urban people harbour.
Howkins analyzes the role of rural England as a place for work as well as leisure, and the problems caused by these often conflicting roles. This overview will be welcomed by anyone interested in agricultural and social history, historical geographers, and all those interested in rural affairs. Learn More about VitalSource Bookshelf.
Farming can change incredibly rapidly when it needs to. What did people do? A more recent example is the time between and when agriculture was innovating very rapidly; its rate of output growth was probably faster than the growth of British industry at the time.
I would argue that agriculture is actually very flexible. Tell us about your next book, Ask the Fellow Who Cuts the Hay , which focuses more on the people who live in the countryside. The author, George Ewart Evans, was in many ways one of the pioneers of oral history. Back in the in the late s and early s he took one of those early tape-recorders which were very big and very cumbersome, and he went to talk to old people in East Anglia. These people had memories which went back well into the 19th century.
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He was almost talking about what seems like a pre-industrial society. He is very good at putting together their memories. How different is the picture he paints of the countryside to anything we are familiar with? The main difference is that it is a rural culture that Evans is describing. My kids were brought up in the countryside and their culture is based on computers; their assumptions about the world are indistinguishable from the cultural assumptions of their friends who live in towns.
About 16 years ago I asked Godfrey Basely the man who started The Archers on BBC Radio 4 , when he was just coming up to his 90th birthday, what the main difference was between the countryside now and the countryside in which he grew up in the s. He made this same point. This has had a major impact on rural culture. Your next book, Akenfield , is doing something very similar. Tell us about it. The difference is that the author did not go out with a tape-recorder.
What he did was to just ask people about what had happened, and write up his recollections of people at a later date.
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Rather than directly quoting people there is this mediation through a creative writing process. The result, however, is that you get this incredibly vivid picture of country life in a period of rapid change. If these books tell us about the past, your next book, The Death of Rural England, gives us some idea about what will happen in the future.
The Death of Rural England is a much more recent book. It is written by Alun Howkins, a historian who has officially retired, but is still actively writing. Its subtitle, The Social History of the Countryside Since , again gives away what the book is about.
If The Making of the English Landscape looks at the countryside from the beginning of human history in England, what The Death of Rural England is doing is looking at the changes to the countryside that we are familiar with. His title, The Death of Rural England , implicitly poses the question that I alluded to before, of whether a rural society remains as something different from urban society any more.
As someone who just happens to live in the countryside, what I think is happening is a polarisation between the countryside of production agri-business and the countryside which people live in and use for leisure. But rural England has a long tradition of surprising us: Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books or even just what you say about them please email us at editor fivebooks.
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A Social History of the English Countryside
England on the Eve of Industrial Revolution. English Landed Society in the Eighteenth Century. The Transformation of a Peasant Economy. Family History and Local History in England. A Purgatory of Misery: The Rural World The Changing English Countryside, Wiltshire in the Later Middle Ages. The Draining of the Fens. A History of Irish Forestry.
Scotland in Modern Times. Capital and Steam Power.
The Sociology of an English Village: Lancashire and Cheshire from AD The Farmer in England, — Life in Medieval Landscapes. Essays in Kentish History Cb. The Tempus History of Wales. Living Through the Industrial Revolution. The Social History of Ireland. Society and Economy in Modern Britain Lord and Peasant in Nineteenth Century Britain. Custom and Commercialisation in English Rural Society. An Economic History of England: Land and People in Nineteenth-Century Wales. Archaeology, Economy and Society.
History of England - Wikipedia
English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century. Local History in England. The Rise of Modern Industry.
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