This volume describes the outlines of the 'state of the art' in the field of rural history for countries such as England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Northern France. The contributing authors, all outstanding specialists in the field, present an overview of the most important publications regarding the areas covered. They also point to the most important research topics as well as indicating the most important lacunae in the field of rural history during the last decades. The original texts of this book formed the basis of the international research group CORN, which studies the ecomic development of the Northern European countryside in a comparative way. The regional mographs are preceded by a short methodological introduction concerning the comparative methods used by this network as well as the possible pitfalls and problems.