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The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present [Kindle Edition]

David S. Landes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"The first edition has long been a classic in the field...In 1969, Landes undertook the heroic task of surveying modern technological history. This path-breaking work asked the right questions, and provided insightful and balanced answers. It still repays reading by scholars of technological and economic history." Rick Szostak, The International History Review

"An unbeatable introduction to the economic history of the industrial and technologiocal revolutions in Western Europe." Military Review

Product Description

For over thirty years David S. Landes's The Unbound Prometheus has offered an unrivalled history of industrial revolution and economic development in Europe. Now, in this updated edition, the author reframes and reasserts his original arguments in the light of debates about globalisation and comparative economic growth. The book begins with a classic account of the characteristics, progress, and political, economic and social implications of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, France and Germany. Professor Landes here raises the much-debated question: why was Europe the first to industrialise? He then charts the economic history of the twentieth-century: the effect of the First World War in accelerating the dissolution of the old international economy; the economic crisis of 1929–32; Europe's recovery and unprecedented economic growth following the Second World War. He concludes that only by continuous industrial revolution can Europe and the world sustain itself in the years ahead.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3323 KB
  • Print Length: 590 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (26 Jun. 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #418,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant After Four Decades 19 April 2008
By Steve Keen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tracking two and a half centuries' worth of economic development in Western Europe, David S Landes's The Unbound Prometheus deserves its renown. It is well-written, thorough, and dispels any number of classroom myths as it proceeds.

The work opens by looking at the reasons why the Industrial Revolution happened first in Britain, looking at the kinds of social structures and mores that existed which meant that there was a much greater free flow of ideas between the different sections and strata of society. This he contrasts with the far more rigid pecking order in continental Europe, together with the higher prevalence of poverty and poorer lines of communication - roads, canals, navigable rivers.

Britain's early lead in industry, Landes observes, ultimately transpired to be a disadvantage as early factories were crowded out by their workers' domiciles, rendering the vertical integration characterising the late developers all but impossible. Construction of better infrastructure - roads, railways - suffered similarly, as they do now, as anyone on the M25 on a Monday morning or catching a flight from any of London's airports will tell you.

There is reference to the advent and development of standardisation, first in such factors as screw threads, and later, around the 1860s, in interchangeable components manufactured by more accurate machines such as the turret lathe and milling machine. Here he makes a reference to the problems on the Gettysburg battlefield with soldiers adjacent each other holding weapons of different bores, thereby rendering the ability to share ammunition extremely limited and creating a logistical nightmare for the quartermasters of both sides.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
14 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars While Europe worked, China and Islam did nothing good 9 July 2007
By Dalton C. Rocha - Published on
I read this book, here in Brazil.This book is good and easy to read.The main idea of this book is that while Europe (and also its son:USA) worked, Islam and China did nothing.In Islam, the religion bought and today bringhs everything linked to VII Century, in the Dark Ages.In China, bad government stoped everything.
This book has some failures.One of them are the anti-catholic prejudices, that the author has.At the conclusion, the author claims that in Brazil, catholics are servants to the protestants.Nonsense.In Brazil such as every place of latin America, protestantism is almost the same as pentecostalism.And no other religious group is so poor , criminal and luckless in all latin America, as the protestants or the pentecostals, if you prefer to name them.
There's even jokes about protestantism here in Brazil.One joke: A poor + a bible = another protestant.Another joke:a crook + a temple = another uselesss pentecostal cult.
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