Eamon Duffy (New Haven, 2001)
Recommended by Alexandra Harris
A revelatory example of what happens when the great movements of national and international history are explored from a particular on-the-ground vantage point. Morebath is a small village on the edge of Exmoor; the priest there in the mid seventeenth century kept detailed parish records, and these form a core around which Duffy builds up a portrait of rural Catholic life and how people responded to the changes they faced. It’s a good starting point for exploring the varied field of historical writing in which skilled and painstaking archival work is made to yield precious clues about the experience of rural and working people whose lives have been otherwise forgotten.