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After the Black Death: A Social History of Early Modern Europe (Interdisciplinary Studies in History) 2nd Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0253211804
ISBN-10: 0253211808
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the flood of books in European social history, this superb synthesis will surely stand out. It is based on specialized studies of social changes across early modern Europe (but primarily in France) that led to the Industrial and the French revolutions. Structured around communitiesvillages, towns, and citiesit offers a mine of fresh information about elites, the middle classes, the poor, demographic trends, marriage patterns, education, crime, social rebellions, and sexuality. As in late medieval, so in early modern Western Europe, the nuclear family of four or five people was the general norm. College teachers, students, anyone interested in the social life of the modern West will appreciate this beautifully written, soundly researched, and highly knowledgeable book. Bennett D. Hill, St. Anselm's Abbey, Washington, D.C. Kammen, Michael. A Machine That Would Go of Itself: the Constitution in American culture.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for the first edition: "To give a sense of immediacy and vividness to the long period in such a short space is a major achievement." - History "Huppert's book is a little masterpiece every teacher should welcome." - Renaissance Quarterly
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Product Details

  • Series: Interdisciplinary Studies in History
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; 2 edition (May 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253211808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253211804
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Huppert provides the best quick introduction to how European society _really worked_ before the industrial age. He starts with the village and the family, then moves to cities, elites, and the way things (slowly, slooooowly) changed.
The book does a great job of combining big slow processes with enough local detail that the reader stays interested. Based mostly on France, but his view applies to all of Continental Europe from 1348 to about 1800.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a very enjoyable and colorful description of life from the 1400's to the 1600's. However, if your only knowledge of European history was this book, you would think that history ended in the 1600s with masses of starving naked people lining the roads of burnt villages, while distant cities were filled with no one but idle nobility with their servants and some street venders. Seems a bit too much class warfare too me. During the period of the 1300's to the 1600's there were tremdendous developments in the sciences, technologies, and humanities. This book discusses little of those. Still, it is an excellent description of the effects of changes in warfare on common people. It description on the motivations and benefits of all the societal changes I found to be better described by other books.
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Format: Paperback
The first impression this book makes --- and I read the first edition --- is that the title is horribly misleading. Saying `After the Black Death' implies that the plague is an opening Big Bang, maybe the subject of the first chapter, and the work will then study its impacts, such as the claim that is sometimes made that the pestilence induced a pessimism that lasted for generations. The title implies that the book will in fact explore whether the Black Death made the world grim for decades. Except for a few references to demographics, the slaughter is nowhere to be found.

Much more truthful is the subtitle: A Social History of Early Modern Europe. As such, it is a good introduction, probably one crafted with the college textbook market in mind: it's relatively short, it's a synthesis of other secondary sources more than an original argument, etc.

The work has a strong political economic bent. If the author isn't a Marxist, he's at least been highly influenced by it: much of the book describes economic conflict in which the powerful always triumph: peasants are driven off the land, revolts are always crushed, masters get the upper hand over their journeymen, etc. In short, this book doesn't need the bubonic plague to be grim.

As a result, for the first eight chapters, you might think Dante's Inferno was a documentary. It's only in the chapter `Private Lives' that there is any sense of humanity. There, people come across as genuinely human when engagement ceremonies are described at length.
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Format: Paperback
This is a superb and immensely entertaining social history, excellent for the reader who'd like to know 'what was it like to live back then?'. I read it last summer when I had the luxury to read slowly and with great enjoyment.
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