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Rural Rides (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 27, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (September 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140435794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140435795
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,794,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Cobbett (1763-1835) spent his youth as a farm worker and gardener. He lived in revolutionary France and Philadelphia where, as 'Peter Porcupine', he rose to fame as a pro-British and anti-Jacobin journalist. Later, back in England, he became a Radical and promoted the cause of reform in politics and agriculture. Ian Dyck is Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. He is the author of 'William Cobbett and Rural Popular Culture' (CUP, 1992).

More About the Author

Born in Farnham, England, in 1763, William Cobbett traveled between England and America preaching the virtues of practical self-sufficiency. He was a combative and witty writer who like nothing better than to practice what he preached.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Bowers on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Rural Rides is today William Cobbett's best known work, and new editions are available. Even if you don't know who William Cobbett was, you may be simply attracted to this book's title, which was why I picked it up nearly a decade ago and have been re-reading parts of it ever since. Who doesn't like a rural ride?

You are about to discover a treasure if: you love English history; you like to read travelogues or journals even if written long ago; you enjoy observing things in the landscape, including soil conditions and what is growing there. And, if you believe that reading journals is a superb pathway to the past, this is a perfect selection for you.

Cobbett was an English radical social and political commentator (writer and speaker) of the latter 18th century and early 19th century. He was born in 1762 and died in 1835. As an example of his forthrightness, he was imprisoned in England for speaking out against the use of flogging in the army, in which he had served. He also spent many years in the United States.

Cobbett was the local food advocate of his time, keeping up on the latest soil science and imparting his first-hand experience on the best growing practices. He published Cottage Economy in the 1820's, the same period of these travels. He founded the journal Political Register. He was very well known in England and America.

I have the two-volume Everyman's Library edition, without a date of its publication, but certainly early 20th century. These two small, green cloth volumes have been a joy to have and to read.

Rural Rides was more than a travelogue, of course. It was Cobbett's medium for commenting on society, nature and science.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Harris on August 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
William Cobbett is a disagreeable character in some ways. He is a scold who rides his high horse, literally and figuratively, across early 19th century England. Unless you are really well up on the political controversies of the era, many of his shots will just whizz past your head. He suffered from an unpleasant anti-Semitism that he gives frequent vent to. He has an annoying habit of going into "I told you so" mode. And yet...Cobbett is one of the outstanding writers and appreciators of the English landscape, both wild and human-mediated, and I think he is an infinitely more interesting figure as a grumpy-lyrical artist than he would be as a purely lyrical one. It's not everyone who can mix political vitriol with a sincere pleasure in a turnip harvest (and describe the latter so beautifully). Cobbett's "Rural Rides," which takes up two volumes and 642 closely printed pages in the old Everyman edition, deserves to be read and savored in full.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Buckley on April 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rural Rides is a first hand account of travels through england on horseback. If you want to know what england and its people were really like, circa 1700, its a one of a kind experience.
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By morlock on August 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought I had done my homework, but, if I had just put on my glasses and zoomed the laptop display larger, I could have seen for myself on the cover photo that this is an abridged version. Can't blame the seller, but wouldn't have bought it if I'd known this in advance. An important enough historical work that I'd have paid triple for unabridged with annotation instead of just an insightful introduction in their place for bowdlery.
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By Susan J. Webber on August 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Must read for anyone interested in rural life in this period.
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