ISBN 9781911204275  Paperback   £19.99     Order
ISBN 9781911204282  Hardback    £45.00     Order
211 x 148mm.  xii + 248 pp; 16 illustrations.
Classics in Social and Economic History series, no.5.

Peculiar Privilege 

A Social History of English Foxhunting, 1753-1885.

With a new Preface by the author

David C. Itzkowitz

About this book

The best introduction to the social history of fox-hunting as the chief leisure activity of the English aristocracy, and of a central social institution and symbol of traditional pre-industrial society.

This landmark book provides a clear understanding of the ways in which landed society functioned, and of the assumptions that governed it. The work emphasizes the strength of older pre-industrial assumptions and relationships, as it moves through the railway age, concluding with the Great Depression of Agriculture when hunting changed irrevocably.

In the years between the mid-18th century and the British agricultural depression of the 1880s fox-hunting assumed a key cultural role. It was transformed from the private, informal recreation of a few country squires to a highly organised, extremely influential public institution.

It never ceased to be viewed as a sport – paradoxically, both of the aristocracy and of the people – and it took on a significance out of all proportion to its role as a mere sport.  Hunting and the chase became, in the influential words both of hunting and non-hunting people, a full, legitimate feature of rural society, one which could affect the lives of everyone in the society.

About the author

The author was Professor of History, Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota.


"[this] study has a tautness, a detail, and a sense of immediacy which his competitors cannot rival." David Cannadine, Social History.

"excellent" John Brewer, American Historical Review.

"this fascinating book…lively and thoroughly readable.” Peter Dunkley, Victorian Studies.


Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.