The House of Hemp and Butter – A History Of Old Rīga by Kevin C. O'Connor begins in the twelfth century with the arrival to the eastern Baltic of German priests, traders, and knights, who conquered and converted the indigenous tribes and assumed mastery over their lands.
It ends in 1710 with an account of the greatest war Livonia had ever seen, one that was accompanied by mass starvation, a terrible epidemic, and a flood of nearly biblical proportions that devastated the city and left its survivors in misery.
"Readers will learn about Riga's people—merchants and clerics, craftsmen and builders, porters and day laborers—about its structures and spaces, its internal conflicts and its unrelenting struggle to maintain its independence against outside threats. The House of Hemp and Butter is an indispensable guide to a quintessentially European city located in one of the continent's more remote corners," say the publishers, Cornell University Press.
Kevin C. O'Connor is Professor of History at Gonzaga University in Spokane, USA. He is author of a number of books with a Baltic slant, including, The History of the Baltic States, Culture and Customs of the Baltic States, and Intellectuals and Apparatchiks.
Originally published in 2019, the title is now available as a paperback for the first time.