W. W. Norton & Company
January 4, 2010
With its deep roots and global scope, the capitalist system provides the framework for our lives. It is a framework of constant change, sometimes measured and predictable, sometimes drastic, out of control. Yet what is now ubiquitous was not always so. Capitalism was an unlikely development in many ways. It took shape centuries ago, starting with a handful of isolated changes in farming, trade, and manufacturing clustered in early-modern England. Astute observers began to notice these changes and to consider their effects. Those in power began to harness the new practices to the state, enhancing both. A system generating wealth, power, and new ideas arose to reshape societies in a constant surge of change.
The centuries-long history of capitalism is rich and eventful. Approaching capitalism as a culture, as important for its ideas and values as for its inventions and systems, Joyce Appleby gives us a fascinating introduction to this most potent creation of mankind from its origins to the present. Here is a capstone work to to a pathbreaking and distinguished career in scholarship.
Joyce Appleby is one of our most accomplished historians. She taught for many years at UCLA and is a past president of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. She is the winner of the 2009 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., award for distinguished writing in American history from the Society of American Historians. She lives in Los Angeles.