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The World We Have Lost

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The World We Have Lost is a seminal work in the study of family and class, kinship and community in England after the Middle Ages and before the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The book explores the size and structure of families in pre-industrial England, the number and position of servants, the elite minority of gentry, rates of migration, the ability ...more
Paperback, Third edition, 376 pages
Published December 15th 1983 by Routledge (first published 1965)
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3.66  · 
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 ·  77 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Wood Wroth
"We Hear InFormed that you got shear in mee sheens [shearing machines] and if you Dont Pull them Down in a Forght Nights Time Wee will you Damd infernold dog." —Luddite threat found on paper, 1803 (245)

Wherever we may sit, wherever we may stand, or wherever we may lay, chances are that we are surrounded by plastics. With few exceptions, we no longer hold knowledge of basic farming or hunting without the aid of machines. We consume food containing synthetic substances made to resemble the food t
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A long time ago in a sixth form far far away I read quite a bit of English social history; Cole and Postgate’s The Common People, EP Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class were typical examples. This book is very much in that tradition, written in the 1960s when historians’ interest in how people lived, the details of their births, marriages and deaths, what they ate and how communities worked started to become mainstream. It is a fairly forensic exmaniation of the condition of Engli ...more
Louise Culmer
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book about English society in the early modern period, and the ways in which it changed after industrialisation. Or perhaps not so much. The author discovered for instance, by studying records of marriage in the 16th and 17th centuries, that very early marriage was not, as is sometimes thought, a usual custom. The typical age of marriage for most people was the 20s, with 22 being the commonest age for women to marry, and 24 The nuclear family, often claimed to be a mode ...more
Jeremy Canipe
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having set out to improve my knowledge of England, I'd come across references to this book as a seminal study of the English families and life before the Industrial Revolution. Professor Laslett provided a finely researched, nuanced, and rather well-written portrait of its subject. It is highly recommended.

In all of these areas, Laslett demonstrated how common assumptions about the lives of the average English family had been incorrect, and opens a door into studying the lives of the average an
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pioneering work in the area of quantitative sociological history. Laslett seeks to prove that poor preindustrial families were not constantly starving people who married young and had large families. The parish registers and work of Gregory King go a long way to demonstrate this assumption. This book is written in a very straight forward manner and often wanders into speculative history when the numbers are not enough to give voice to the lives of the preindustrial English. Not to fear though, L ...more
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first venture into quantitative history. Laslett does a good job or walking the reader through his examination of pre-industrial, rural England. Some would (and have) criticized his lack of narrative but my response would be "It's quantitative history? What narrative are you expecting?" The numbers he does use in the text involve little math and thus are easy to follow for any historian. The book is a bit dated (originally published in 1965 and updated various times over the next two ...more
Stephen Miletus
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the second edition, dated 1973. The Preface to that edition, while repeating his insistence that it is not a publication of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, explains that the difference between the two editions consists of correcting typos & textual errors, as well as bringing the original text up to date.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Oh Mr. Laslett. Nothing could have made me less interested in pre-industrial England than this book. I understand why it was assigned for a historiography class, but your writing style simply bores me to tears.
Jane Walker
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
It was first published in 1965 and revised several times since. It still seems dated. I'm sure modern historians would quarrel with some of Laslett's assertions, on class, for instance, and on literacy. But it's an interesting read.
Social history for the specialist
Sean Chick
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Great research dull prose.
Martin Willoughby
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's an academic paper rather than a light read, but worth the effort. It explodes more than a few myths, such as the starving peasants, but confirms the mortality rates...mostly.
Jonathan White
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Was hoping for more. This would have been an ok read for an undergraduate course on 17th-18th century England I suppose. The writing was too dense and obtuse...and a bit boring.
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Thomas Peter Ruffell Laslett was an English historian.