23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A Good Base,
This review is from: The Penguin History of Economics (Paperback)
I will say that this is a really good overview for someone with an idea (but not much) of economics and contemporary economic ideas. If you already have a degree in economics (which I don't at present) then this book might be familiar ground adding little to your knowledge. However if you're trying to understand broad ideas so you can make sense of economic arguments then Backhouse's historical account will serve you well.
There are a lot of ideas covered so you may struggle if you're coming to the subject matter cold but then you can always go back over it. The historical period starts from ancient times and ends at the start of the 21st century so there's a lot packed in with all the major economists covered. The prose is very easy to read and I was engrossed throughout never feeling like this was a dull academic treatise. This book has helped explain the wide diversity in economic viewpoints that I have found in research papers. I have also come to see how econometrics has become such a huge part of modern economics. There is a brilliant chapter on how economists have split into different theoretical and applied disciplines and how they are influenced by the demands of academia (the need to publish, politics of getting promotion etc).