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Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World
Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World
Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World
Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World
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Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World

byPatrick Joyce

*A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice* A landmark new history of the peasant experience, exploring a now neglected way of life that once encompassed most of humanity but is vanishing in our time. “What the skeleton is to anatomy, the peasant is to history, its essential hidden support.” For over the past century and a half, and still more rapidly in the last seventy years, the world has become increasingly urban, and the peasant way of life—the dominant way of life for humanity since agriculture began well over 6,000 years ago—is disappearing. In this new history of peasantry, social historian Patrick Joyce aims to tell the story of this lost world and its people, and how we can commemorate their way of life. In one sense, this is a global history, ambitious in scope, taking us from the urbanization of the early 19th century to the present day. But more specifically, Joyce’s focus is the demise of the European peasantry and of their rites, traditions, and beliefs. Alongside this he brings in stories of individuals as well as places, including his own family, and looks at how peasants and their ways of life have been memorialized in photographs, literature, and in museums. Joyce explores a people whose voice is vastly underrepresented in human history and is usually mediated through others. And now peasants are vanishing in one of the greatest historical transformations of our time. Written with the skill and authority of a great historian, Remembering Peasants is a landmark work, a richly complex and passionate history written with exquisite care. It is also deeply resonant, as Joyce shines a light on people whose knowledge of the land is being irretrievably lost during our critical time of climate crisis and the rise of industrial agriculture. Enlightening, timely, and vitally important, this book commemorates an extraordinary culture whose impact on history—and the future—remains profoundly relevant.

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