The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century / Edition 1

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Overview

"Pestilence and War have had their historians. Famine now has its own with this brilliantly written masterpiece of historical anthropology."--Jacques Le Goff

"Superb detective work, as all good historical research should be, it is well organized, fast moving, and above all else, persuasive. Jordan spins a horrifying tale, dealing, in turn, with the nature of the calamity and how it affected the nobility, peasants, and townfolk--starvation, disease, displacement, and death.... Yes, this is true scholarship, but also a riveting tale as well."--The Virginia Quarterly Review

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Editorial Reviews

The Virginia Quarterly
Superb detective work, as all good historical research should be, it is well organized, fast moving, and above all else, persuasive. Jordan spins a horrifying tale, dealing, in turn, with the nature of the calamity and how it affected the nobility, peasants, and townfolk--starvation, disease, displacement, and death.... Yes, this is true scholarship, but also a riveting tale as well.
The Virginia Quarterly Review
Superb detective work, as all good historical research should be, it is well organized, fast moving, and above all else, persuasive. Jordan spins a horrifying tale, dealing, in turn, with the nature of the calamity and how it affected the nobility, peasants, and townfolk—starvation, disease, displacement, and death.... Yes, this is true scholarship, but also a riveting tale as well.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 2000 Haskins Medal, Medieval Academy of America

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1996

"In this important new synthesis of the causes, course, and consequences of the Great Famine, Jordan offers a corrective to the view that after its initial crippling effects, famine continued to afflict Europe until the ultimate devastation of the Black Death. . . . A richly detailed cultural history that considers significant regional variations and stresses the event's human dimension, including its manifold and different effects in rural and urban contexts and on people of differing age, status, and power. . . . This will become the standard work on the subject."--Choice

"Ever since the publication of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, many readers have had a sneaking suspicion that the 14th century is uncannily similar to our own. Anyone who takes up this book in hopes of finding a new Tuchman will find something better, though: a work of great depth written in a scholarly though engaging way. . . . [T]he impressive scholarship . . . deserves to be appreciated for its own merits. Among the many virtues of this readable work are the corrections of many common misperceptions of the Middle Ages and a bibliography that is extensive and impressive. . . . "--Publishers Weekly

"A richly detailed cultural history. . . . This will become the standard work on the subject."--Choice

"Anyone who takes up this book in hopes of finding a new Tuchman will find something better, though: a work of great depth written in a scholarly though engaging way."--Publishers Weekly

Choice
A richly detailed cultural history. . . . This will become the standard work on the subject.
Choice

A richly detailed cultural history. . . . This will become the standard work on the subject.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ever since the publication of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, many readers have had a sneaking suspicion that the 14th century is uncannily similar to our own. Anyone who takes up this book in hopes of finding a new Tuchman will find something better, though: a work of great depth written in a scholarly though engaging way. While there is plenty here about the population strain, catastrophic weather, soil exhaustion, ruminant disease and so on that caused the Great Famine that affected the Baltic countries, Scandinavia, France and Britain from 1315 to 1322, the author makes his focus the transformation of community life that resulted from the famine. What makes his treatment stand out is the additional moral dimension. Jordan, a Princeton professor and author of Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade, hopes that by looking to the past contemporary readers may find new sympathy for the needs of others. Such a reawakening did not happen in the 14th century, when circumstances were so like those of our own, but one can perhaps hope that this time things will be better. This moral subtext should not lead readers to ignore the impressive scholarship that deserves to be appreciated for its own merits. Among the many virtues of this readable work are the corrections of many common misperceptions of the Middle Ages and a bibliography that is extensive and impressive in both primary and secondary sources. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691058917
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps
Acknowledgments
Prologue 3
Pt. I A Calamity "Unheard-of Among Living Men"
1 The Bringers of Famine in 1315: Rain, War, God 7
2 The Harvest Failures and Animal Murrains 24
Pt. II The Economics and Demography of the Famine in Rural Society
3 Prices and Wages 43
4 The Cost-of-Living Crisis: Lords 61
5 The Cost-of-Living Crisis: Rustics 87
6 The Struggle for Survival 108
Pt. III Towns and Principalities
7 Urban Demography and Economy 127
8 Coping in Towns 151
9 The Policies of Princes 167
Epilogue 182
Notes 189
Bibliography 261
Index 305
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