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An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000-1500

by Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein

An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000-1500 Synopsis

This book examines the most important themes in European social and economic history from the beginning of growth around the year 1000 to the first wave of global exchange in the 1490s. These five hundred years witnessed the rise of economic systems, and the social theories that would have a profound influence on the rest of the world over the next five centuries. Surveying the full extent of Europe, from east to west and north to south, Steven Epstein illuminates family life, economic and social thought, war, technologies, and other major themes while giving equal attention to developments in trade, crafts, and agriculture. The great waves of famine and then plague in the fourteenth century provide the centerpiece of a book that seeks to explain the causes of Europe's uneven prosperity and its response to catastrophic levels of death.

An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000-1500 Press Reviews

'The clarity and precision of Steven Epstein's survey of the history of the later medieval economy are without doubt two of its most wonderful features. Students and seasoned scholars alike will actually relish reading the book. ... This book is synthesis of a very high order.' William Chester Jordan, Princeton University and author of The Great Famine 'This is a masterful book that brings together the most recent research on economic and social history in a sophisticated yet accessible manner. ... The book is a tour de force, whose modest tone will obscure (intentionally) to the casual reader and undergraduate student its striking originality. Epstein consistently offers unique juxtapositions of information and possesses such command of complex current economic theory that he is able to incorporate it effortless into his discussion of medieval event. This is a superb work of scholarship and exciting new source for teaching.' William Caferro, Vanderbilt University '... an impressive and very well written survey of European economic and social history from 1000 to 1500. ... it provides an enjoyable read.' Speculum The clarity and precision of Steven Epstein's survey of the history of the later medieval economy are without doubt two of its most wonderful features. Students and seasoned scholars alike will actually relish reading the book. Moreover, in substance it is not limited, as many so-called surveys are, to a portrait of peasant production, market towns, business techniques, and trade, although there are excellent pages on all these topics. Epstein never forgets that there are essential cultural contexts for the economic developments he traces. His setting out of these contexts is as lucid and informative as his writing on the economy per se. This book is synthesis of a very high order. -William Chester Jordan Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University Author of The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century (Princeton, 1996) This social and economic history of medieval Europe has a geographic framework that stretches from Iceland to Eastern Europe, from the western Mediterranean to Byzantium and the Middle East. Muslims and Jews figure in the focus on a big Europe. Economic concepts - transaction costs, value-added commodities, sticky salaries, regressive taxes, etc. - are introduced in layman's terms, accessible to students and scholars alike. The book provides revisionist views of agriculture and trade and new emphases on technology, consumption, and Europe's penchant for a culture of knowledge, valuing improvement. The Big Death replaces the Black Death with re-evaluation of 14th- and 15th-century epidemics. The 15th century, enlivened through vignettes on the Florentine catasto of 1427, Francesco di Marco Datini, Jacques Coeur, the Pastons, the accounting of Luca Pacioli, the debate over the economic depression of the Renaissance, and Columbus's voyages, closes a text that will stimulate reflection and engage readers. -Kathryn Reyerson, University of Minnesota This is a masterful book that brings together the most recent research on economic and social history in a sophisticated yet accessible manner. The topics range broadly, from the holy greyhound to game theory, to trade and agriculture, technology and innovation, guilds and public finance, climate and economic thought, religion, social unrest and warfare-to name but a few. Epstein includes comparative material on Islam and Judaism and traces developments to all of Europe, north and south, east and west. The book is a tour de force, whose modest tone will obscure (intentionally) to the casual reader and undergraduate student its striking originality. Epstein consistently offers unique juxtapositions of information and possesses such command of complex current economic theory that he is able to incorporate it effortless into his discussion of medieval event. This is a superb work of scholarship and exciting new source for teaching. -William Caferro, Vanderbilt University

Book Information

ISBN: 9780521706537
Publication date: 27th April 2009
Author: Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 304 pages
Categories: Social & cultural history, Economic history, European history,

About Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein

Steven A. Epstein is Ahmanson-Murphy Distinguished Professor of Medieval History at the University of Kansas. He is the author of numerous articles and five books on aspects of medieval social and economic history, including Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528 and Purity Lost: Transgressing Boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1000-1400.

More About Steven A. (University of Kansas) Epstein

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