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Short Notices 185 Hilton, Rodney H., Class conflict and the crisis of feudalism: essays in medieval social history, rev. ed., London & N. Y., Verso, 1990; paper; pp. x, 255; R. R. P. AUS$34.95 [distributed in Australia by Allen & Unwin]. Rodney Hilton was for decades the doyen of English social and economic historians at Birmingham. H e has brought to his fundamentally Marxist interpretation of history a wise inteUect which has modified extreme positions and has sought to advance the understanding of historical change through new ideas. If he has always remained heavily influenced by Marx and later Marxists, he has never been constrained by them and has made many an original contribution to historical debate. His works have always been thoughtful, meticulously researched, and challenging. Even if one has not always agreed, it has been rare that one failed to find stimulation and interest in what he wrote. This collection of his papers, first published by the Hambledon Press in 1985, complements two others: The English peasantry in the later Middle Ages (Oxford, 1975) and Peasants, knights and heretics (Past & Present Publications, 1976). For this revised edition major changes have been made to the papers included. The first seven papers of thefirstedition, which were more specific studies of EngUsh estates plus the 1941 article 'A thirteenth-century poem on disputed villein services' have been omitted. In their place three new studies have been included: 'Feudalism in Europe: problems for historical materialists' (New left Review, 1984), 'Unjust taxation and popular resistance - Marxist theory and practice on a historical problem' (New left Review, 1990), and 'small town society in England before the Black Death' (Past and Present, 1984). The result is a more balanced and homogeneous volume, more directed to wider issues and problems of theory. This is an attractive volume in many ways. Even those who own the first edition wiU want the revised one and it should serve welltointroduce students to a wide range of theoretical issues in medieval English history which still form foci of debate. John H. Pryor Department of History University of Sydney Leyser Karl J., Rule and conflict in an early medieval society: Ottoman Saxony, rpt., Oxford, Basd Blackwell, 1989; paper; pp. xiv, 194; 4 plates, 2 maps, genealogical table; R. R. P. AUS$34.95. The first edition of this book appeared in 1979 and it is good to see it reappearing as a paperback with additional bibUography. Reviewers of the earlier edition praised the work for its inteUectual power and for being easily the most accomplished account of early medieval Germany in EngUsh. These comments remain vatid a decade later. Rather than provide a narrative account of his topic, 186 Short Notices the author offers three detailed soundings. Thefirstof these, on Otto I and his Saxon enemies, shows some of the difficulties encountered in the establishment of Ottoman monarchy. The second, which deserves the attention of those concerned with women's history, examines the women of the Saxon aristocracy, who are convincingly shown to have had a Ufe expectancy greater than that of their male counterparts, the latter having been far more likely to die from violence. Enjoying as they did some rights of inheritance, women tended to found religious houses to secure their possessions, but these they often placed under the protection of the king, ultimately allowing a royal takeover. Leyser finally turns to sacral kingship, strongly arguing that grounds for challenging this system had emerged prior to the accession of Henry IV. In a world where students are all too prone to make a hero of Pope Gregory VII, his thesis wdl be found an admirable corrective. John Moorhead Department of History University of Queensland Miskimin, Harry A., Cash, credit and crisis in Europe 1300-1600, London, Variorum, 1989; cloth; pp. xxiv, 274; R. R. P. £36.00 Few medievalists of any persuasion would, I think, dispute the claim that of all fields of our discipUne monetary history is perhaps the most incomprehensible. It is a difficult field, bestrewn with many pitfalls. By and large it remains, unfortunately, afieldfor the specialist. Unfortunately because, in spite of the difficulties which most historians have in understanding the arguments of monetary historians, the field is of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 185-186
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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