An Open Elite? sets out to test the traditional view that for centuries English landed society has been open to new families made rich by business or public office. From a detailed examination of the landed elites of three counties between 1540 and 1880, the authors come to radical newconclusions about the landed classes. They describe the strategies of marriage and inheritance evolved by older families to preserve their position, and establish that the number of newcomers was always relatively small. The resulting work is a major reassessment of the social, economic, andpolitical history of England since the Reformation. This abridged edition of what was immediately recognized as a major work of historical scholarship was first published in 1986 and is now available in Clarendon Paperback with a new foreword by Lawrence Stone.