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Making a Living in the Middle Ages: v. 1 (The New Economic History of Britain)

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  39 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Dramatic social and economic change during the middle ages altered the lives of the people of Britain in far-reaching ways, from the structure of their families to the ways they made their livings. In this engagingly written economic history, Christopher Dyer provides a vivid new account of British medieval life from the Viking invasions through the Norman conquest to the ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 31st 2003 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published February 8th 2002)
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Sep 26, 2010 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I couldn't do it. I just couldn't finish it. This could be so interesting--an in-depth look at the economics and social impacts of economics from 850-1550 or some such. But no. Thank you, Dyer, for botching the job. I couldn't figure out who his audience was--one minute he would be describing the minutiae of wool gathering and sales, the next painstakingly explaining what the Norman Conquest of 1066 was. Was this supposed to be a popular book? A book for historians that are looking into economic ...more
Mary Catelli
A broad overview of economics in this period.

Covers all sorts of topics. Coinage, trade, taxes, rents, farming practices, towns and their growth and other aspects, the effects of the Great Famine and the Black Death. Changes in practices, such as the freeing of slaves, and the forcing of peasants into villages. The lords' attempts to get money, not always successful. The changes after the Conquest.

High level and academic, with individual cases being treated as examples. Chock-full of stuff.
Lauren Albert
May 02, 2016 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-british
This was a fine if not scintillating review of work in the middle ages. Now, there are of course limitations in terms of the evidence--there are not many sources from the point of view of the lower classes or many that cover there lives. But Dyer is as thorough as one could be under the circumstances.
Oct 18, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dyer's economic history of Medieval Britain offers a high-level account of the transformation of systems of production and exchange during the Middle Ages. Drawing upon illustrative demographic statistics as well as individual biographies, the text highlights the technological and administrative innovations that helped drive the growth of urbanization and the market economy, while underscoring the continuity of the basic institutions of feudalism. Dyer rejects narratives dependent upon any one c ...more
A solid and entertaining book (if you're a serious history or economics buff). Part of The New Economic History of Britain series. Upper level college class level, not the first book to read on the Middle Ages, but can be read after two or three others. No footnotes, but an extensive 'Further Reading' section.

The book is divided into three parts - Anglo-Saxon, Norman to Plague, Post-Plague. Dyer discusses all the different economic classes, lords, peasants and the emerging merchant class (NOT th
Feb 08, 2009 Barry rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There are many strands one could comment on - one thing that struck me is the extent to which well-written history can remind us that a human life is ever so brief, and judgments made too closely and singularly from the basis of one's lived experience risk being profoundly wrong.

If halves were available I'd give this 3 and a half stars.
Joe Paulk
Apr 02, 2008 Joe Paulk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-history
I really enjoyed this book and was surprised I did due to the rather stuffy title. Much of the information is unique and hard to find in other areas. The overall layout and readability also make much of the history in it accessible.
Jan 22, 2009 Walt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-medieval
Very academic. It is not for light/casual reading. Then again, most economics books are not light reading. Still, it is hard getting past the cold academic writing.
Paula Hiatt
Interesting information, but not great writing
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Christopher Charles Dyer CBE FBA (born 1944) is Leverhulme Emeritus Professor of Regional and Local History and director of the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

Dyer is well known as the historian of everyday life, a recurring theme in his publications. Dyer looks at the
More about Christopher Dyer...

Other Books in the Series

The New Economic History of Britain (3 books)
  • Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain, 1470-1750
  • The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850

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