Although certain improvements like the cultivation of clover, rye-grass and turnips, and the application of lime had been introduced to this region in the mid-eighteenth century, Marshall considers its farming was backward compared with that in the eastern counties of England. The worst feature was the practice of taking three successive corn crops followed by an indefinite period under ley grass. (Although turnips were grown they followed the temporary ley and not, as was desirable, a corn crop.) He attributes much of this backwardness to the system of estate management, particularly the dominant tenurial arrangement of three lives' leases. He criticizes the latter for taking all the tenant's capital in the purchase, thereby leaving him no money for improvements. Other contemporaries, however, would have strongly disagreed, claiming that, on the contrary, long leases stimulated improvements by providing secure tenure. This work is a basic source for students of rural affairs in the period concerned and the publishers are to be congratulated for reprinting it. They have also performed a valuable service in reprinting a number of the English County Surveys drawn up for the Board of Agriculture in the mid-1790s. We eagerly await the same County Surveys made for Wales. DAVID W. HOWELL Swansea THE LUDDITES: MACHINE-BREAKING IN REGENCY ENGLAND. By M. I. Thomis. David and Charles, Newton Abbot, 1970. Pp. 196. £2 75. 'Historians, however great their professionalism and technical com- petence, remain human beings' (p. 30). A generous remark, until one realizes that Dr. Thomis has only one historian in mind, namely, E. P. Thompson. The latter haunts the pages of this book and appears in footnote after footnote. Dr. Thomis has little sympathy with Thompson's interpretation of the Luddite movement, and his continuous assault on it reaches a climax in the final chapter of his book, a chapter labelled significantly 'Luddism and the Making of the English Working Class'. Thomis's language is polite, but his attack is a vigorous and bruising one. He applies 'commonsense' to Thompson's methodology. The oral tradition, which Thompson regards highly and which is enshrined in Frank Peel's books of the late-nineteenth century, is found to be unreliable and misleading. So is Thompson's 'imaginative' approach to the Luddites; they were not romantic heroes nor were they working-class intellectuals who knew how to improve their desperate situation. The stockingers and the croppers were the bemused victims of economic circumstances, as were some of the factory owners. The Luddites were not, writes Thomis, politicians who diagnosed their difficulties in class terms and who wished