Hobsbawm, E. J. and Rude, George (1975) Captain Swing. New York, NY: W.W.
Norton and Company, Inc., 384 pp.
Captain Swing is an enjoyable collaboration between E. J. Hobsbawm and George Rude that depicts the social history of the English agricultural wage-laborers’ uprising of 1830. According to Hobsbawm and Rude, historiography of the laborers’ rising of 1830 is negligible. Most of what is known by the general public comes from J. L. And Barbara Hammond’s The Village Laborer published in 1911. They consider this an exceedingly valuable work, but state that the Hammonds oversimplified events in order to dramatize them. They placed too much emphasis on enclosure, oversimplified both the nature and prevalence of the “Speenhamland System” of poor relief, and neglected the range and scope of the uprising. Hobsbawm and Rude do not claim to present any new data, and believe that the Hammonds will still be read for enjoyment, but believe that by asking ...