Synopses & Reviews
A major contribution to debates in German history over the origins of modern political authoritarianism.
"...with its rich mines of data and insight on rural political, economic, gender and social history, this will be an essential text for years to come." H-Net Review"This first intensive study of Prussian landowning is pathbreaking in scope. Essential." Choice
"...a richly nuanced, highly informative, revisionist, and thoroughly readable discussion of Brandenburg society. ...indispensable to any discussion of early modern rural Prussia and its place in German history." Canadian Journal of History"...a powerful, evocative, and much-needed account." Journal of Interdisciplinary History"...with its rich mines of data and insight on rural political, economic, gender and social history, this will be an essential text for years to come." H-Net Review"This first intensive study of Prussian landowning is pathbreaking in scope. Essential." Choice"Hagen's masterpiece deserves to become the definitive English-language work of social history." Eric Kurlander, German Studies Review"This work is a major achievement that not only revises conventional interpretations of Prussia and modern Germany, but also challenges the conventional agrarian dualism that distinguishes sharply between an increasingly free rural population in the west, and enserfed villagers in the east." Journal of Social History" Ordinary Prussians is a major study, of the sort that comes along perhaps once every decade; it deserves to be read by every historian of modern Germany and by all students of the early modern era.""Ordinary Prussians should be of great interest to anyone studying agrarian society or early modern social or everyday history. Given the book's revolutionary implications for Prussian and German political/cultural history, the book should be required reading for anyone in the field." Comitatus
Includes bibliographical references (p. 655-675) and index.
This book gives voice, in unprecedented depth and immediacy, to ordinary villagers and landlords (Junkers) in the Prussian-German countryside, from the late middle ages to the nineteenth century, making a major contribution to fundamental debates in German history over the origins of modern political authoritarianism.
About the Author
William W. Hagen was born in 1942, and has taught at UC Davis since 1970. He is the author of Germans, Poles, and Jews: The Nationality Conflict in the Prussian East, 1772-1914 (Chicago, 1980). Ordinary Prussians is the culmination of his research over the past two decades, including two years in the Prussian State archive.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Grand narratives, ordinary Prussians; 1. After the deluge: sixteenth-century ascent and seventeenth-century crisis of a noble lordship in Brandenburg; 2. The Prussianisation of the countryside? Noble lordship under early absolutism, 1648-1728; 3. Village identities in social practice and law: household and kinship, subject status and property rights, marriage, children, elders, death; 4. Daily bread: village farmers' economic practices and incomes, material culture and living standards, longevity and mortality; 5. The Kleists' good fortune: family strategies and estate management in an eighteenth-century noble lineage; 6. Noble lordship's servitors and clients: estate managers, artisans, clergymen, domestic servants; 7. Farm servants, young and old: landless labourers in the villages and at the manor; 8. Agents and organs of higher authority: seigneurial court, churchly powers, village mayors, state and army in the policing of crime and the moral order, 1700-1760; 9. Policing seigneurial rent: the Kleists' battle with their subjects' insubordination and the villagers' appeals to royal justice, 1727-1806; 10. Seigneurial bond severed: from subject farmers to freeholders, from compulsory estate-labourers to free, 1806-1840; Conclusion; Sources and bibliography.