Who Do You Think You Are?
The Nonconformist Revolution Religious Dissent, Innovation And Rebellion
Amanda J Thomas Pen & Sword, 278 pages, £25
The Nonconformist Revolution is undoubtedly an ambitious work, covering the early 13th to the late 18th century. But it should be said straightaway that it is not designed to help you discover your dissenting ancestors. Baptists, Methodists and a few others are mentioned only in passing. Quakers get a greater look-in, and are suggested as playing a greater part in the overall impact that nonconformity had on society.
Many of those attracted to nonconformity were from intelligent middle- class families who were in trades. They turned their energies towards business and the emergent technologies.
The essential thrust of the book is a discussion about how nonconformists contributed to England’s transformation from a rural to an urban, industrialised population.
There are eight pages of family trees in the index.
Overall, the book is very wordy with possibly too much crammed in, and could have benefited from some judicious editing. But that said, there is a great deal to be learnt from this volume about the influence of nonconformists on the country’s transition to an urban, manufacturing society.