Although I have attempted to bring this book up to date in the light of the most recent publications (1941), it was nearly all written before the war. I then had in view a social history of England from the Roman times to our own, but I left to the lant the part that I would find most difficult, the centuries preceding the fourteenth. The war has rendered it impossible for me to complete the work, but it has occurred to me that the chapters which I have already finished constitute a consecutive story of six centuries, from the fourteenth to the nineteenth, and as such some readers may give it welcome. Social history might be defined negatively as the history of a people with the politics left out. It is perhaps difficult to leave out the politics from the history of any people, particularly the English people. But as so many history books have consisted of political annals with little reference to their social environment, a reversal of that method may have its uses to redress the balance. During my own lifetime a third very flourishing sort of history has come into existence, the economic, which greatly assists the serious study of social history. For the social scene grows out of economic conditions, to much the same extent that political events in their turn grow out of social conditions. Without social history, economic history is barren and political history is unintelligible.
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