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Reviews

"Combining environmental history with a history of the relationships of engineering projects to political power and state-building, The Draining of the Fens deftly and lucidly crosses disciplinary boundaries. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this astute book is a gripping and highly original work of scholarship."

"This history is stunningly relevant and beautifully written... This remarkable book is about nation building, economics, and environmental and social history. It is thoroughly researched, and historian Ash (Wayne State Univ.) tells his story in a compelling way that is accessible to any reader. Essential. All levels/libraries."

"Ash's book is a sound study of the drainage of one part of the southern fens over a period of less than a century that was without doubt the most formative era in its taming. It is well-written, informative, assiduously referenced with copious endnotes, and an excellent testimony to the wealth of documentation that survive in the archives."

"An excellent contribution to the history of engineering projects, particularly from an environmental and political point of view."

"This comprehensive account is likely to become the standard textbook for the history of the Fens. It is thoroughly researched, drawing on a wide range of printed material in addition to archival sources including court records, petitions, correspondence, and state papers. The text is illustrated with original maps and plans, as well as with photos of the Fenlands today. Ash has managed to transform a potentially specialist subject into a story of protest, resistance, and political wrangling that will appeal to a broad spectrumof readers: from those interested in the history of environment, technology, and projects, to students of the political, economic, and social history of early modern England."

"The book is certainly the account for our generation."

"Ash's work will long remain an essential account of these important events."

"Eric H. Ash brings the perspectives of environmental history and the history of science and technology to bear on the attempts to drain the English fens during the first half of the seventeenth century in a provocative and stimulating account of a major natural and engineering challenge usually examined for the political impact of its various projects on local communities, a subject not neglected here. Ash supplies a rousing narrative of "improvement" schemes in the wetlands of eastern England, written in an engaging Whiggish style that imbues the early Stuart dynastic state."