Microhistories: Demography, Society and Culture in Rural England, 1800-1930 by Barry Reay (University of Auckland)
Microhistories: Demography, Society and Culture in Rural England, 1800-1930 uses a local study of the Blean area of Kent in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to explore some of the more significant societal changes of the modern western world. Drawing on a wide range of research techniques, including family reconstitution and oral history, Barry Reay aims to show that the implication of the micro-study can range way beyond its modest geographical and historical boundaries. Combining cultural, demographic, economic, and social history in a way rarely encountered in historical literature, Professor Reay examines a range of topics including marriage and fertility, health and mortality, the work of women and children, and illegitimacy and sexuality. This 1996 book demonstrates the challenging potentials of microhistory, and makes a central contribution to the 'new rural history'. It will be of interest to family and oral historians, as well as to demographers and sociologists.