|About the Book|
This is the second volume in Braudels magnificent new three-volume social and economic history of the world from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution. This is history on a grand scale yet always on the human level. Written with immediacy andMoreThis is the second volume in Braudels magnificent new three-volume social and economic history of the world from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution. This is history on a grand scale yet always on the human level. Written with immediacy and realism, the book is full of personal stories and examples culled from a lifetime of research by a master who wears his erudition lightly.The preceding volume, The Structures of Everyday Life, described the material context of the preindustrial world, outlining the limitations of what was possible and identifying the means of social and economic development. In The Wheels of Commerce, now published for the first time in English, Braudel turns his attention to the markets and exchanges that, from the start, have been the real motors of change. Peddlers, merchants, fairs, market stalls, the first stock exchanges, provide the human and economic subject matter. As always, Braudel sees them in their totality and in perpetual motion. Means of travel and communication, style of life and social .mores—all are brought to life with that marvelous specificity and imaginative power which are Braudels hallmark.Out of this world of bargaining and bustle, of risk and disaster, of enormous wealth and dizzying success, emerges the beginning of the economic world we see around us, of multi-national companies and world-wide finance. The book is profusely illustrated with contemporary prints and drawings from around the world.FERNAND BRAUDEL was born in 1902, received a degree in history in 1923, and subsequently taught in Algeria, Paris and Sao Paulo. He spent five years as a prisoner of war in Germany, during which time he wrote his grand thesis, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, which was published in 1949. In 1946 he became a member of the editorial board of Annales, the famous journal founded by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, whom he succeeded at the College de France in 1949. He has been a member of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and since 1962 has been chief administrator of the Maison des Sciences de lHomme. Professor Braudel holds honorary doctorates from universities all over the world.Jacket painting: Detail from Hans Holbeins Portrait of the Merchant George Grisze, courtesy of The Staatliche Museum, Berlin/Bridgeman Art LibraryA marvelous panorama of the world in motion ... [But] Braudel is not just telling a story, fascinating as it is. What he is trying to do, patiently and undogmatically, is to answer a question which concerns us as much today as it concerned people then: the nature of capitalism and its role in history.... Read this book- it is an experience you will not regret—or forget.—Geoffrey Barraclough, The GuardianIt is hard and, for that matter, quite inappropriate to restrain ones enthusiasm [for Braudel]. His books are wonderful.—John Kenneth Galbraith, Washington Post Book WorldThe remarkable thing about this work is its combination of illustrative detail—visual, too . . . —with an entirely unusual breadth in time and space. . . . [It] confirms his rank as prince among living historians.—William H. McNeill, The New RepublicBraudels books pulse with a remarkable view of how life works. His eye for detail, his appetite for the exceptional as well as the general example, his enthusiasm for the incidents of history, his way with the story itself, cohere in a marvelous and authentic historical imagination. . . . He really is a master.—Robert Dawidoff, Los Angeles Times----The subject of The Wheels of Commerce is the development of mechanisms of exchange--shops, markets, trade networks, and banking--in the preindustrial stages of capitalism.