The genesis of Britain's allotments looks as if it was an urban after-thought, a few hundred tiny pieces of agriculture on the outskirts of cities. In fact, the lineage of the allotment stretches back to the great medieval commons - and to the potent but half-forgotten ideology which, throughout the nineteenth century, asserted people's right to grow their own food.
This book is partly the story of the politician who made it possible, Jesse 'Three acres and a cow' Collings, and his ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (and vice versa). But it is also a look at the original ideology of the allotment, its radical claims about English history, its representative interpretation of modern economics, and where it has led us to today - and what that might mean if the allotments ideology takes further hold.
David Boyle is the author of 'Blondel's Song: The capture, imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart' and a series of books about history, social change and the future.
He has written for many national newspapers and magazines.