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Making exhaustive use of information gleaned from contemporary gazetteers, Evelyn Rawski investigates the effects of expanding commerce on the rural economy of South China. Concentrating on the development of sixteenth-century Fukien and eighteenth-century Hunan provinces, the author emphasizes the importance of examining the entire economic context for a true evaluation of tenurial relations and peasant behavior. The study encompasses such topics as transport, the ecology of rice culture, and the economic significance of various forms of land tenure.