Cover: Legal Plunder: Households and Debt Collection in Late Medieval Europe, from Harvard University PressCover: Legal Plunder in HARDCOVER

Legal Plunder

Households and Debt Collection in Late Medieval Europe

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Product Details


$43.00 • £34.95 • €38.50

ISBN 9780674737280

Publication Date: 06/06/2016


344 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

15 color illustrations, 8 halftones, 2 line illustrations, 6 graphs, 4 tables


Daniel Lord Smail’s fascinating Legal Plunder: Household and Debt Collection in Late Medieval Europe shows that ‘offshore’ or private money creation (i.e. credit) played a significant part even in the Middle Ages.—Rebecca L. Spang, Times Literary Supplement

Legal Plunder is only partly about the exploration of grand interpretive ideas using a medieval case study. The book will also stimulate readers interested primarily in debates about the economy, society and culture of late medieval Europe. Its main conclusions will surely excite discussion and further exploration.—Christopher Briggs, History Today

A massive historical undertaking that sheds considerable light on wealth and credit in medieval Europe.—S. Pressman, Choice

Full of unexpected insights, this exciting and innovative social history brings the late Middle Ages to life through everyday objects that served as the basis of an emotional package of vanity, optimism, humiliation, and violence surrounding debt seizures.—Paul Freedman, Yale University

A terrific book, rich with well-told anecdotes as well as smart analytical interventions. Smail makes ordinary people more than mere onlookers or victims of the long so-called commercial revolution of Europe.—Martha Howell, Columbia University

Fascinating and highly original. Smail writes with great fluency, a distinctive voice, and disarming charm. He has a gift for using understudied sources to analyze fresh and important questions.—Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara

A magisterial examination of the transformation of the medieval economy. While the entire book is remarkably insightful and erudite, the chapters on the excessive acts of the state against its citizens and the concomitant violent resistance are particularly brilliant.—Teofilo F. Ruiz, University of California, Los Angeles

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