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The Ties That Bound


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About the Author

Barbara A. Hanawalt is Professor of History at the Ohio State University and author of Crime and Conflict in English Communities, 1300-1348 and editor of Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe.


In the near-glut of historical family studies, this is the first clearly focused on evidence about families medieval, English, and peasant. Hanawalt uses 3118 coroners' inquests into accidental deaths (mostly 14th century) and manorial court records (13th to early 16th century) to explore families' material environments, wealth, economic activities, life cycles, and surrogates. Nuclear groups created without good evidence of the so-called ``Western European'' or ``Malthusian'' marriage pattern lived in conjugal households where spouses were partners. Despite sociocultural changes, human biological needs made the family a tough and flexible institution. Hanawalt's sharp empirical corrective to much theoretical scholarship is informed with a humane understanding of medieval peasant life and belongs in college and public libraries. Richard C. Hoffmann, History Dept., York Univ., Downsview, Ontario

`The first comprehensive account of peasant famiies in late medieval England.' Journal of Social History
`As stimulating for the questions it asks as for the answers it provides.' New York Times Book Review
'She has endeavoured to search for the continuities. This approach and its detail of everyday mediaeval life make the book of interest to a wide variety of readers. Those who are interested in the mediaeval period (or the family) should not miss it.' Win Grimmette, Open History

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