The Industrial Revolution has traditionally been seen as a transformation in the technological basis of production and in the social arrangements surrounding it. On the other hand, the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries was originally conceived as a purely intellectual transition, a shift in mentalities or worldviews.
During the past two decades, Robert Allen’s researches into English agriculture have fundamentally reshaped our understanding of the nature and pace of rising agricultural productivity between the late middle ages and the 19th century.
Tony Cooke has made a notable contribution to our understanding of early industrialisation and its impact, including some important studies of textile history and the heritage of the industry.
Richard White is a prolific historian whose earlier works have changed our understanding of several periods of American history. His 1991 book on the relations of white empires and Native polities in the Great Lakes region reshaped views of First Nations history throughout the continent.
In this interesting and readable book, Jo Guldi explores the origins and rise of the ‘infrastructure state’ (1) through an historical analysis of centralised road planning, investment and regulation in Britain.
At first sight this looks like another of those increasingly common commodity books, some of which are intended to be global in scope, and which include studies of chocolate, sugar, cod, salt and many others (digestible or not!). As Riello points out, commodities are a good way to tell a global story since many of them have been traded throughout the world for centuries.
During the 19th century print became an industrial product. In 1800 the speed at which text could be put to paper remained governed by the rhythmic operations of the hand press, an invention very little changed since moveable type printing appeared in Europe in the mid-fifteenth century. At the very best, two skilled operators working together could print 250 single-sided sheets per hour.
Since London’s Great Exhibition of 1851, world’s fairs and international expositions have been an important global cultural phenomenon that has defined progress and modernity for hundreds of millions of visitors.
Jonathan Scott, Professor of History at the University of Auckland, in his recent book, How the Old World Ended (2019), has provided an intellectual bridge between the early modern period and the modern world, which was born out of the Industrial Revolution.