Why did Western Europe achieve an industrial revolution and not China? Why did Western Europe achieve a scientific revolution while the Islamic World failed to do so? Conventional theories, from Adam Smith to modern authors such as David Landes and Eric Jones, concentrate on the innate cultural superiority of the West. Amin, on the other hand, takes a more global, and in my view, more accurate view. In Amin's view, the transition from tribal societies to agricultural "world empires", and then to industrial capitalism was a "global relay race" in which Western Europe was simply "the last runner". Amin traces the economic, political and cultural aspects of the transitions from tribal societies, to world empires (Amin's term is "tributory form"), to industrial capitalism and the modern nation state. This book is the best brief exposition of global history that I have seen.