Alternative Agriculture: A History - From the Black Death to the Present Day

Overview


People like to believe in a past golden age of "traditional" English countryside, before large farms, machinery, and the destruction of hedgerows changed the landscape forever. Yet crops from the past like flax, hemp, rapeseed, and woad are gradually reappearing in the "modern" countryside. Thirsk reveals how the forces which drive the current interest in alternative forms of agriculture--a glut of mainstream meat and cereal crops, changing patterns of diet, the needs of medicine--have striking parallels with ...
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Overview


People like to believe in a past golden age of "traditional" English countryside, before large farms, machinery, and the destruction of hedgerows changed the landscape forever. Yet crops from the past like flax, hemp, rapeseed, and woad are gradually reappearing in the "modern" countryside. Thirsk reveals how the forces which drive the current interest in alternative forms of agriculture--a glut of mainstream meat and cereal crops, changing patterns of diet, the needs of medicine--have striking parallels with earlier periods of English history, emphasizing that solutions to current problems can still be found in the hard-won experience of people in the past.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Thirsk writes with relish about the successes and failures of alternative agriculture. Her book is a delightful guide to a subject that has perhaps not been treated in the past with the seriousness it deserves. Certainly, no one has ever written such a clever synthesis as this."--Historian

"Thirsk's brilliant study of six centuries of British agriculture affirms her status as the preeminent scholar of the subject...Thirsk's fascinating study is rich in detail about the successes and failures of experimentation, and it stresses the importance of regional specialization, the clear patterns that characterized each period, the lessons learned that permanently influenced British agriculture, economy, and diet, and the lessons forgotten only to be learned again. Highly recommended to readers and libraries interested in British studies, agricultural history, and the history of diet and nutrition."--Choice

"It presents a detailed and moving account of the energy, initiative, vision, courage, success, and failure that went into the quest to wrest a living from the land during those times when mainstream agriculture's ability to grow wheat and meat outstripped the market's ability to absorb them....rich in example and understanding."--Albion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198208136
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Thirsk (CBE, FBA), was Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford from 1965-1983, and is currently President of the British Agricultural History Society.

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Table of Contents

Part I. The First Experience, 1350-1500
1. Agriculture after the Black Death
Part II. The Second Experience, 1650-1750
2. Entering a New Era
3. Settling into a Routine
4. Alternative Crops: The Successes
5. Alternative Crops: The Near-Failures and Failures
Part III. The Third Experience, 1879-1939
6. Familiar Strategies
7. Diversification and Innovation
8. Context and Conclusion
Part IV. The Fourth Experience, 1980s Onward
9. Alternative Agriculture Today
Conclusion
Postscript

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