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The Roots of Rural Capitalism
The Roots of Rural Capitalism: Western Massachusetts, 1780-1860. By Christopher Clark * Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1990. xii + 339 pp. Tables, appendix, and index. $32.50.
In the 1980s, Christopher Clark gained a prominent place among American historians on the basis of his outstanding article, "Household Economy, Market Exchange, and the Rise of Capitalism in the Connecticut Valley, 1800-1860" (Journal of Social History 13 ). In that essay Clark helped shape and sharpen historians' understanding of rural exchange relationships and, more generally, helped make comprehensible the meaning of rural mentalite. Now his eagerly awaited book offers a broader and deeper look into the social and economic landscape of this part of rural New England, and it promises to emerge as one of the outstanding contributions to American history in the 1990s.
The value of the book stems from Clark's ability to survey the whole scene yet still to …