From the list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.
Who am I?
I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations.
Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies
Why did Mark love this book?
Marc Bloch was one of the greatest historians of the 20th century. He was also hero of the French Resistance, tortured and executed by the notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie. Feudal Society (2 volumes) is perhaps his best book.
It is often said that the past is a foreign country, and it is true that the world of the Middle Ages is alien to us in many respects. What Bloch does is to provide a systematic examination of all aspects of that world, that is he examines it it from a legal, a sociological, an anthropological, an economic, and a political perspective.
In so doing, he paints a remarkable portrait of a coherent, self-contained society. The economy was basic, laws and politics were personalized, but it was a social and political order that made sense in its own terms. More recent historians have criticized specific aspects of Bloch's vision of feudalism…