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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective
To give it to you the dry straight facts, Mokyr's book is about the theory of what caused the Industrial Revolution. Why the 18th and 19th centuries and why Great Britain. Allen also has his own theory and his introduction chapter covers this but Allen goes much more in depth about the history of Great Britain and does more to compare what was going on in England to what was happening on continental Europe and in Asia.
Allen's book does tell more of a story. I loved the section where he discussed entrepreneurs and inventors in the U.K. This was one of the moments of economic history class where economic history resembled what I thought history was about before I took this class. I always imagined that history was a bunch of retired old men reading musty old books and telling stories around the fire at night while they smoked their pipes. I never imagined that they would pore over spreadsheets of the percentage income gains of British laborers vs. French laborers.
If you do want to pick up an economic history book about the Industrial Revolution, I would say this one is the more accessible of the two. Also it's much cheaper with a list price of $25 vs. the insane price of $50 that Mokyr's book is going for used on Amazon right now. It looks like I'm about to make my own economic history by selling a paperback book on Amazon for a much larger price than I would ever have imagined.