While historians have written with ease about the state and the church, the family has so far defied historical analysis. As the primary cell of human social organisation, upon which both state and church depend, it is of crucial importance. In this concise, informative and stimulating book, Rosemary O'Day seeks to explain the difficulties facing the historian of the family and to suggest strategies for their solution. She compares families and households in time, space and economy over the period 1500-1914 and draws together the important existing work.
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