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George Ewart Evans’s pioneer work in oral history has been widely acclaimed; the importance of this source of historical knowledge has long been recognized both in this country and the United States. In The Days That We Have Seen (Faber, 1975) he shows the way in which oral history works and illustrates his point by printing some exceptionally valuable recorded talks by old men and women in East Anglian villages, whose tools and customs – and indeed whose ways of speech, which often survived from the times of Shakespeare and even Chaucer – repeated what had been familiar to many generations before them.
The use of common land hardly changed for centuries. Who today understands the importance of hay in the farm economy, when we are concerned with a different sort of fuel? The author also investigates the activities of those who went to sea: the herring industry, farm workers who became sailors after the harvest, and migratory labour from Scotland.
As fascinating to the general reader as it is valuable to the historian, the book is imaginatively illustrated throughout with photographs and black and white line drawings.
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