Encyclopedia of European Social History, 1st Edition

  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0684315149
  • ISBN-13: 9780684315140
  • DDC: 306.09403
  • Grade Level Range: 9th Grade - College Senior
  • 3186 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2001 | Published/Released September 2005
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2001

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The Encyclopedia of European Social History covers all aspects of European social history from the Renaissance to the present. This six-volume reference includes more than 230 articles, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 words, on everything from serfdom and the economy, to witchcraft and public health. Some of the thematically-arranged articles include:

  • Honor and Shame
  • Prostitution
  • Schools and Schooling
  • The World Economy and Colonial Expansion
  • Clothing and Fashion
  • Spinsters and Bachelors
  • Travel and Tourism
  • The World Wars and the Depression
  • Birth, Contraception and Abortion
  • The European Marriage Pattern
  • Communications, the Media and Propaganda
  • Ethnicity and National Identity
  • Church and Society
  • Fairs and Markets
  • The Deaf, the Blind and the Retarded
  • Rural Revolts
  • The Aristocracy and Gentry
  • The Welfare State

This reference provides a survey of hundreds of topics. Included are more than 700 photographs, drawings and maps. The sixth volume also includes biographies of prominent European figures and a comprehensive index.

This title is now available in eBook format through Gale Virtual Reference Library.


"The style is generally clear, and the content is comprehensive. The European emphasis reflects the interests and work of scholars who have produced much social history...This is a very useful reference. The section on methodology makes an excellent, if indirect, case for social history itself, and overall the treatment of conceptual subjects such as regionalism, periodization, and urbanization will be of particular use to students...Recommended for academic and larger public libraries." -- Library Journal (April 15, 2001)

— Library Journal

"Covering the period from the beginning of the Renaissance to the present, this encyclopedia consists of 209 signed articles and nearly 300 biographical entries. The set is thoroughly indexed, amply illustrated, and a joy to read. Graduate students will find it useful as an introduction to historiography while advanced high school students will enjoy the articles on historical topics." -- American Libraries (May 2001)

— American Libraries

"This encyclopedia approaches and presents modern European history from several complementary perspectives. Broad essays in the first volume provide foundational information for readers new to social history or the history of countries or regions or major topics...The second through fifth volumes carry the remainder of the set's 209 essays. All of similar depth and quality, organized into 19 topical sections...By design and through execution of that design, the encyclopedia serves multiple purposes. Its foundational essays can be used to introduce students -- even students studying areas and periods other than modern Europe -- to the concepts and methods of social history. Its country and regional essays supplement textbooks and provide overviews and context for other historical approaches such as diplomatic or military history. And its topical essays provide in-depth analysis and exposition of significant issues in European social history. All in all, the encyclopedia does not just fill a void in the reference literature; it fills it masterfully. Recommended for academic and large public libraries." -- Booklist (May 15, 2001)

— Booklist

"Stearns provides a serious resource for the study of European social history, late Middle Ages to the present...Articles are grouped in 23 sections, each containing several entries; articles are by reputable scholars and have extensive bibliographies...The sixth volume contains biographies, ranging form Descartes to Lloyd George, a roster of contributors, and an extensive general index. The latter helps counterbalance the set's subject architecture for readers seeking topical information. No topic -- 'Banditry,' 'Puberty,' 'Toys and Games' -- is too small to receive attention... This set has much that will help acquaint students and researchers with the spectrum of topics in the field. Essential for all academic and research libraries." -- CHOICE (June 2001)

— Choice

"This monumental work draws together contributions of nearly 170 scholars from all over the world to create a fascinating and long-overdue reference source for European social history. ... Bringing together articles from so many different scholars must have been a challenge for the editor, and some of the articles are not as thorough in their coverage as others, but the overall quality of the encyclopedia is superb. Each article is accessible to students and scholars alike. What is most impressive about the encyclopedia is that it brings together in reference form much of the incredible research done in the past 50 to 70 years by social historians seeking to discover and analyze the roles that ordinary people played in history--not necessarily the deeds of individuals but how everyday social behavior shaped the course of history. In presenting this, the encyclopedia goes beyond the role of mere reference book and acts as an essential guide to the field of social (and cultural) history as a whole. ... The Encyclopedia of European Social History is a superb guide to both the study of social history and the field of social history as a whole. It provides an excellent starting point for anyone studying or doing research in European history." -- ARBA (2002)


"Encyclopedia of European Social History differs from other reference works about European history in two respects: its focus is distinctly social as opposed to political, and its scope is far more expansive geographically and chronologically. The social focus provides a refreshing balance to the king and conquest histories found in other reference works...This work covers all of Europe from the Renaissance to the present, with geographic areas and chronological periods as major divisions within the work...Encyclopedia of European Social History can provide adequate balance to the political history that dominates European history sections in most reference collections. This work could be described as a necessary addition to most public, academic, and even secondary school reference collections." -- Reference and User Services Quarterly (Summer 2001)

— Reference and User Services Quarterly (ALA)

"The six volumes of this set cover every conceivable topic of social history; from 'The Family and Age Groups' to 'Education and Literacy' to 'Cities and Urbanization.' There are 209 signed articles arranged in 23 topical sections and written by 170 different scholars. Each article is cross-referenced to related articles, each article includes a bibliography, and each volume has the full table of contents, making for easy use. Included as well are a comprehensive index, a section (in Volume 6) for biographies of notable Europeans, and short, biographical entries on the contributing scholars. The Encyclopedia of European Social History is well-written, organized, and presents a fascinating, multi-faceted look at European history and culture. This is a must-have for academic libraries." -- Catholic Library World (June 2001)

— Voice of Youth Advocates