The Making of the English Landscape is a 1954 book by the English local historian William George Hoskins. The book is also the introductory volume in a series of the same name which deals with the English Landscape county by county.
It is illustrated with 82 monochrome plates, mostly photographs by Hoskins himself, and 17 maps or plans. It has appeared in at least 35 editions and reprints in English and other languages.
The book is a landscape history of England and a seminal text in that discipline and in local history. The brief history of some one thousand years is widely used in local and environmental history courses.
Hoskins defines the theme of the book in the first chapter, arguing that a landscape historian needs to use botany, physical geography and natural history as well as historical knowledge to interpret any given scene fully. The remaining chapters describe how the English landscape was formed from the Anglo-Saxon period onwards, starting c. 450 AD, and looking in detail at the mediaeval landscape, the depopulation following the Black Death, the Tudor period through to the splendour of the Georgian period, the parliamentary enclosures that affected much of the English midlands, the industrial revolution, the development of road, canal, and railway transport networks, and finally the growth of towns from Norman times onwards. There is little mention of cities. The concluding chapter, however, laments the damage done to the English countryside by “the villainous requirements of the new age” such as military airfields and arterial roads, describes the new England as barbaric, and invites the reader to contemplate the past.
The work has been widely admired, but also described as grandly emotive, populist, and openly anti-modernist. Writers have praised the book for helping them understand and interpret the landscape in which they lived.
The first edition was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1954 and reprinted in 1956, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1977. They issued a new edition in 1988, a revised edition in 1992, and a new edition in 2005, reissued in 2006. In 1970 Penguin Books published a paperback Pelican edition in England and a Penguin edition in the United States. Penguin reprinted in 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1991, and 2005. In 1977 Book Club Associates published an edition in England; in 1988 Coronet Books and Gild Publishers published editions in England; in 1992 Teach Yourself Books published a paperback edition in England; in 2005 The Folio Society published an edition in England; and in 2013 Little Toller books published a paperback edition in England.