Hailed as a pioneering work of
"total history" when it was published in France in 1966, Le Roy Ladurie's
volume combines elements of human geography, historical demography, economic
history, and folk culture in a broad depiction of a great agrarian cycle,
lasting from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It describes the conflicts
and contradictions of a traditional peasant society in which the rise in
population was not matched by increases in wealth and food production.
"It presents us with a great study of rural history, an analysis of economic change and a description of a society
in movement that has few equals."
-- Washington Post Book World
"It is without any doubt one of the most important, if not the most important, monograph of the French Annales school of socio-economic
historians written in the last decade." -- Canadian Historical Review