John Adamson

Has land ownership changed our lives for better or for worse?

It made Britain a world power, but unleashed the kind of greed that led to the wolves of Wall Street, according to the late great Andro Linklater in Owning the Earth

A long caravan trail of pioneers crosses virgin plains beneath the Rockies to the dismay of two native Indians by N. Currier and J.M. Ives, 1866

If the gentle reader has any concerns that a study of land ownership might tend to the dry, they will be dispelled in the very first pages of this book by the spectacular flamboyance of its opening. There is not an economist in sight. Instead, we have the piratical figure of the Sir Humphrey Gilbert — Elizabethan seadog, soldier and mathematician, ‘openly bisexual’, and with the arresting habit of ‘decapitating his enemies after battle [and] then lining the path to his tent with their severed heads’ — returning in 1583 from the first expedition to create an English colony in...

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