This book has been a long time in the making, and over the years I have benefited considerably from the stimulus afforded by students taking my course on nineteenth-century France. The University of East Anglia has also accorded me excellent library facilities and for these I am particularly grateful to Barry Taylor, Bill Marsh and Ann Wood.
Although it is largely based on secondary sources the book also represents the findings of research conducted over the past twenty years and I would like to acknowledge once again the financial support which made this possible, particularly from the British Academy, the Leverhulme Foundation, Twenty-Seven Foundation, the Wolfson Trust, and the School of Modern Languages and European History of the University of East Anglia.
I would also like to record my thanks to my colleague Richard Evans for first suggesting that I should contribute a volume to Hutchinson's Social History of Europe, and for his perceptive comments on earlier drafts. Extremely helpful advice also came from another colleague, David Barrass, from Colin Heywood of the University of Loughborough, and Roger Magraw of the University of Warwick. Sydney Thomas, the vicar of Pontyberem in Dyfed took time off from his parish duties to comment on the chapter on religion. I am grateful to all of them, but above all to Heather Price for the numerous improvements in content and style she has suggested.
Claire L'Enfant at Hutchinson has once again been a great encouragement, and Sarah Conibear has efficiently edited a manuscript which turned out to be a little longer than expected. As always I would like to express my gratitude to Robert and Jane Frugère of Bois Colombes for their many kindnesses.
Above all however I am grateful for the love and support - and all the fun — that comes from living with Heather, Richard, Siân, Emily and Hannah.