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The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present (Sources and Studies in World History) Paperback – 31 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (31 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765617099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765617095
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,040,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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By bernie TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 May 2015
Format: Paperback
I actually came across this book in a used bookstore. It was nestled among exotic history books. I read the introduction and fell in love. Later I read other peoples reviews and some people pointed out a few faux pas in the second edition I decided also to buy a copy in the third edition. That is when I found out that the authors it changed the focus of the book to being more on the 20th century and 21st century. This book being more geared I would suppose it is a textbook needed to adjust to its potential audience. So some articles were removed others were incorporated. I suggest if you have an earlier version to keep it; however you also need a newer edition for corrections and changes in focus.

For my new copy I chose the electronic Kindle format. The drawback is that it does not contain links to references inside the book so you have to know how to get to those particular locations if you want to read more on the subject that you are currently reading. It is quite annoying. There is however a go to button which will take you to the beginning of each section. I am one of those people that cannot stand to scribble in books as when time changes and interest, scribbling can be annoying. On the Kindle edition you can make notes and remove them at will. One great advantage is that it has text-to-speech which allows you to listen in the background if you are mobile or have other visual imperatives such as taking care of cats.

I bought this book primarily to learn about different commodities and their trades. There are many books that specialize in individual commodity such as coffee, tea, and salt. There are others dedicated to plants of which I learned about Wardian Cases (Green cargoes. by Anne.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
A fun read! 1 Aug. 2000
By Thomas M. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago, a former student called on his history professors to write a short entertaining article in a magazine he had started for businessmen. This article became a regular feature in the magazine, and now these short stories - these vignettes - have been organized thematically into a book.
*The World That Trade Created* proves that economic history need not be boring or dry. While the stories introduce readers to people, places, times, and events that put "globalization" into historical perspective, this is definitely not a textbook. Perhaps the highest compliment that I can offer is that it is more suited to the bedside table than the classroom.
Pomeranz and Topik have assembled an entertaining and informative collage of historical snapshots centered more around oceans than continents, and (despite the 1400-Present subtitle) more upon the premodern and early modern trade than modern international trade. For the most part, this is a world in which geography and meteorology impose formidable, but not insuperable barriers to trans-hemispheric encounter and exchange, a world where drugs (coffee, sugar, chocolate, opium) "are the foundation of the world economy, not its aberration," a world which is not Eurocentric, but polycentric and multi-cultural.
There is something for everyone in this book - businessmen, travelers, history buffs, economists, geographers, students, and educators. The only thing missing are maps which, given the exotic locales that are often introduced, would be extremely helpful.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Less informative than disorienting 4 Dec. 2010
By Adéle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wanted to like this book. As you begin reading, Pomeranz and Topik seem to have good intentions, and indeed present interesting information throughout, but nevertheless their style is confusing and haphazard. Though they purport to organize by topic and chronologically, they barely manage the first and completely fail at the second. Of course, all of history and particularly economics overlaps to significant degrees, but this book only made a denser web of this inter-relatedness. The authors jump from topic to topic, and (very annoyingly) repeat concepts which they have already discussed once, twice, even three times in earlier sections. Partly illustrating the fact that no chronological order is followed is the note in the introduction that says the second section discusses "the role of violence in capital accumulation and market formation," and "Chapter 5 examines the role of transportation improvements in linking up distant markets and intensifying trade" (xiv). However, the table of contents lists Chapter 2 as the one which discusses transportation, while Chapter 5 talks about violence. If even the authors have difficulties organising their topics, there is little hope that the reader will be able to follow their organisation. Though some of their information was interesting and relevant to world history, it was presented in such a disorienting fashion that little could be gained from the reading. Additionally, I felt as though the authors made significant exaggerations and generalisations on some topics, particularly related to the economics of drugs, the morals of pirates, and the views of foods like potatoes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Somewhat Boring But Sometimes Useful 25 Jan. 2011
By William Alexander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to say I was just not impressed with this book. While it has the advantage of hitting all of the well-known accent notes starting from the early "imperial" and mercantile ages, the lack of sourcing was problematic, not to mention far too many factoids and toss off lines marring the chronology. In a strange way, I thought it was an attempt to merge the best of world history with the worst of Thomas Friedman.

For a student, the standard chronology is useful, but to wade through the asides requires, I think, some general foreknowledge of the major themes not everyone will possess although the chosen, illustrative vignettes are generally interesting. For the more academically minded, it's an often unsubstantiated and rather dull read I am not sure adds much to the continuing discussion of the the role of trade and commerce in shaping the modern world with a couple of exceptions, especially the inclusion of "narco-history" into the modern era, an uncomfortable subject they handle well and which begs for more scholarly analysis.

Still, it is not an incompetent work by any stretch of the imagination, and not without some utility if you stick to the "nuts and bolts."

Recommended with some reservations.
You will want to collect each edition 19 Oct. 2014
By bernie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I actually came across this book in a used bookstore. It was nestled among exotic history books. I read the introduction and fell in love. Later I read other peoples reviews and some people pointed out a few faux pas in the second edition I decided also to buy a copy in the third edition. That is when I found out that the authors it changed the focus of the book to being more on the 20th century and 21st century. This book being more geared I would suppose it is a textbook needed to adjust to its potential audience. So some articles were removed others were incorporated. I suggest if you have an earlier version to keep it; however you also need a newer edition for corrections and changes in focus.

For my new copy I chose the electronic Kindle format. The drawback is that it does not contain links to references inside the book so you have to know how to get to those particular locations if you want to read more on the subject that you are currently reading. It is quite annoying. There is however a go to button which will take you to the beginning of each section. I am one of those people that cannot stand to scribble in books as when time changes and interest, scribbling can be annoying. On the Kindle edition you can make notes and remove them at will. One great advantage is that it has text-to-speech which allows you to listen in the background if you are mobile or have other visual imperatives such as taking care of cats.

I bought this book primarily to learn about different commodities and their trades. There are many books that specialize in individual commodity such as coffee, tea, and salt. There are others dedicated to plants of which I learned about Wardian Cases (Green cargoes. by Anne. Dorrance [19450]), and some dedicated to dyes such as "A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield." While in the process of gleaning this information I have come to appreciate the other aspects of this book including "society, culture, and world economy."

I assume this book is used as a textbook somewhere due to the nature of its organization. Information mostly comes from a column from "World trade magazine."

I hope you have as much fun as I have had reading this and I am now working on the abbreviated bibliography and hope one day that Kenneth Pomeranz and Steve Topik will write a more in-depth book.
Fun 22 Jun. 2013
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This concise book is an enjoyable survey of an important aspect of world economic history - globalization of the world economy. Written by 2 well known historians, the format is a series of short essays-vignettes illustrating some important aspect of globalization. Major topics include the development of markets, transport technologies and their impacts, the importance of "drug" commodities, the emergence of major traffic in primary products, the historic importanct of coerced labor, and the effects of European industrialization. Major underlying themes are the antiquity of the global economy, particularly across Eurasia and around the Indian Ocean, the relatively late membership of European societies as major actors, the important role of contingent events like the epidemiologic advantages of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, the importance of state action for globalization, and the often crucial relationship between economic modernization and intensification of traditional and highly exploitative labor practices. The linkage between American plantation slavery and the British Cotton industry is the best known example but Pomeranz and Topik offer some other interesting cases, such as the virtual enslavement of Yucatan peasants for henequen production secondary to the development of farm machinery in the USA.

In addition to good coverage of the major themes, this book has a lot of really interesting detail. I was unaware, for example, of the importance of Indian opium exports to China in the second half of the 19th century. Because of the structure of the book, there are some drawbacks. This is not a systematic narrative account and is most useful and enjoyable for those who already know the basic historical background. While there is a nice bibliography, there are no footnotes, which is an obstacle to pursuing further reading on interesting topics. Finally, this is the 2nd edition and a 3rd edition has been published.
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