Synopses & Reviews
Advance Praise for : "Joyce Appleby's prolific historical writings on politics and economic thought have earned her a distinguished reputation for incisiveness and originality. , 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 "Joyce Appleby is one of our most distinguished historians, an elegant writer as well as an innovative and penetrating thinker. is Appleby at her best: a brisk, fair-minded history of capitalism and its consequences." --T. J. Stiles, author of "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 " tackles 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
"Arguing that capitalism is a cultural rather than purely economic phenomenon, Appleby (Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination) traces its trajectory through European, American, and Asian successes and setbacks, its unhappy experiments in colonization, the world wars, and into contemporary India and China. She narrates the rise of capitalism as a process of accretion, starting with Dutch agricultural innovations that were adopted and improved upon by the British. This set England on the path to controlling famine and, ultimately, freed capital and labor for trade. Appleby turns Marxism on its head as she proposes that the new social relations introduced in England as a result of converting common land into freeholds were the 'consequence, not the cause, of the transformation in English farming.' If this sounds like breathless global time travel, it is still a laudable effort at demonstrating that there was nothing 'inevitable' about the rise of capitalism. Both scholarly and accessible, this book unpacks a complex web of seemingly unrelated events; its dazzling achievements are tarnished only by multiple misnomers: there is no city called 'Calico' in India (there's a Calicut) and no language called 'Hindu' (it's Hindi)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Whether masterfully discussing the significance of agricultural progress that made capitalism possible, or touching lightly on the impact of Amazon and e-mail, Appleby offers consistently illuminating commentary. A useful introduction to a vast, complex topic." Kirkus Reviews
"Appleby's engaging narrative spans from capitalism's humble origins through industrialization, world war, depression, and into the present era of global recession, government bailouts, and the world markets. More comprehensive than Niall Ferguson's , this sound, timely study will surely find a receptive audience with both academics and those concerned with the state of the modern financial world." Library Journal
The unlikely development of a potent historical force, told with grace, insight, and authority by one of our best historians.
With its deep roots and global scope, the capitalist system provides the framework for our lives. It is a framework of constant change, sometimes measured and predictable, sometimes drastic and out of control. Yet what is now ubiquitous was not always so. Capitalism took shape centuries ago, starting with a handful of isolated changes in farming, trade, and manufacturing, clustered in early-modern England. Astute observers began to notice these changes and consider 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. The centuries-long history of capitalism is rich and eventful. Approaching capitalism as a culture, as important for its ideas and values as for its inventions and systems, Joyce Appleby gives us a fascinating introduction to this most potent creation of mankind from its origins to now.
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.