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There was nothing remotely pleasant about a peasant’s existence

Focusing on Ireland and his own peasant heritage, Patrick Joyce laments the passing of a distinctive way of life. But the world his parents left behind was truly horrible

24 February 2024

9:00 AM

24 February 2024

9:00 AM

Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World Patrick Joyce

Allen Lane, pp.400, 25

If we are to remember peasants, we need a definition. Here is an imperfect but workable one. A peasant is a person working on the land in return for a bare subsistence. Patrick Joyce’s peasants are smallholders making just enough to feed their families and pay the rent in a normal year.

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