In this short book, Razzell presents the case for autonomous shifts in mortality as the key driving force in moving England from a population of marginally more than 2 million in 1500 to one of 16.5 million in 1851. He is skeptical of the use of parish registers for historical demographic research, at least in the manner employed by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, and by those who have adopted its methodologies to study this enormous body of data relating to baptisms, marriages, and burials. He, unlike the Cambridge Group, is confident that changes in fertility were of limited significance in driving demographic growth. In one of the longest sections of the book, he purports to show that after the almost-universal marriage of women during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a decline in marital incidence left increasing proportions of women unmarried by the nineteenth...

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