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The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalismby Joyce Appleby
Synopses & Reviews
Advance Praise for The Relentless Revolution:
'Joyce Appleby"s prolific historical writings on politics and economic thought have earned her a distinguished reputation for incisiveness and originality. The Relentless Revolution, a crowning achievement, shows that capitalism is as much a matter of values and ideas as of supply, demand, and balance sheets. This is sweeping, challenging historical writing of the highest order.' '"Sean Wilentz, Princeton University, author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
'Joyce Appleby is one of our most distinguished historians, an elegant writer as well as an innovative and penetrating thinker. The Relentless Revolutionis Appleby at her best: a brisk, fair-minded history of capitalism and its consequences.' '"T. J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
'Joyce Appleby, one of the leading historians of our generation, here provides the general reader with an impressively wide-ranging account and analysis of the making of the modern economic world. A fitting capstone to a distinguished career and a must-read for businesspeople.' '"Daniel Walker Howe, UCLA, Pulitzer Prize'"winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815'"1848
'The Relentless Revolutiontackles the enormous subject of the rise and expansion of modern capitalism. Starting in medieval England and ending with the global crisis that began in 2008, Appleby explores the successes and failures of capitalism over the last five hundred years and more. This readable, engaging, comprehensive account will enlighten and entertain anyone with an interest in understanding where the world economy has come from, and where it might be going.' '"Jeffrey Frieden, Harvard University, author of Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth-Century World
The unlikely development of a potent historical force, told with grace, insight, and authority by one of our best historians.
"Splendid: the global history of capitalism in all its creative—and destructive—glory.”—The New York Times Book Review
Long before Citizens United and modern debates over corporations as people, such organizations already stood between the public and private as both vehicles for commerce and imaginative constructs based on groups of individuals. In this book, John Oandrsquo;Brien explores how this relationship played out in economics and literature, two fields that gained prominence in the same era.
Examining British and American essays, poems, novels, and stories from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, Oandrsquo;Brien pursues the idea of incorporation as a trope discernible in a wide range of texts. Key authors include John Locke, Eliza Haywood, Harriet Martineau, and Edgar Allan Poe, and each chapter is oriented around a type of corporation reflected in their works, such as insurance companies or banks. In exploring issues such as whether sentimental interest is the same as economic interest, these works bear witness to capitalismandrsquo;s effect on history and human labor, desire, and memory. This periodandrsquo;s imaginative writing, Oandrsquo;Brien argues, is where the unconscious of that process left its mark. By revealing the intricate ties between literary models and economic concepts, Literature Incorporated shows us how the business corporation has shaped our understanding of our social world and ourselves.
With its deep roots and global scope, the capitalist system seems universal and timeless. The framework for our lives, it is a source of constant change, sometimes measured and predictable, sometimes drastic, out of control. Yet what is now ubiquitous was not always so. Capitalism was an unlikely development when it emerged from isolated changes in farming, trade, and manufacturing in early-modern England. Astute observers began to notice these changes and register their effects. Those in power began to harness these new practices to the state, enhancing both. A system generating wealth, power, and new ideas arose to reshape societies in a constant surge of change. Approaching capitalism as a culture, as a historical development that was by no means natural or inevitable, Joyce Appleby gives us a fascinating introduction to this most potent creation of mankind from its origins to its present global reach.
About the Author
Joyce Appleby is a professor of history emerita at UCLA and the author of The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism and coauthor of Telling the Truth about History, among many other works. A former president of the American History Association, she was awarded the 2009 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Prize for distinguished writing in American history from the Society of American Historians. She lives in Taos, New Mexico.
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