The Industrial Revolution in World History

By Peter N. Stearns | Go to book overview
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Suggestions for Further Reading

The literature on the history of the industrial revolution is considerable. A disproportionate amount focuses on Western Europe and in particular Britain, but there is good reading on most areas. At the same time, many topics are incompletely explored; some, like industrialization and women, are currently being recast, with much analysis still to be fleshed out. Furthermore, opportunities for comparative work are limited by the current supply. Still, a host of topics can be pursued in greater depth.

Europe as Crucible

A useful compendium for the European side of this is Derek Aldcroft, ed., Bibliography of European Economic and Social History ( Manchester, England, 1984). See also the essays in Carlo Cipolla, ed., Industrial Revolution, 1700-1914 ( London, 1973); and see David Landes, The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present ( Cambridge, England, 1969). On specific topics, with reading suggestions, see Peter N. Stearns and John Hinshaw, The ABC-Clio World History Companion to the Industrial Revolution ( Denver, 1996).

On protoindustrialization and the origins of the industrial revolution, see P. Kriedte, H. Medick , and J. Schlumbom, eds., Industrialization Before Industrialization ( Cambridge, England, 1981)--in particular Medick essay, "The Proto-Industrial Family Economy," and Kriedte contribution, "Proto-Industrialization Between Industrialization and De-Industrialization." For a critique, see D. C. Coleman, "Proto-Industrialization: A Concept Too Many," Economic History Review, 2d ser., 36 ( 1983): 435-448. A fine recent study using the protoindustrial concept is Gay L. Gullickson, Spinners and Weavers of Auffray ( Cambridge, England, 1986). See also Rudolph Brauns, Industrielisierung und Volskleben ( Winterthur, Switzerland, 1960); Carlo Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000-1700 ( New York, 1980); Dolores Greenberg, "Reassessing the Power Patterns of the Industrial Revolution: An Anglo-American Comparison," American Historical Review 87 ( 1982): 1237-1261; and Charles Tilly, Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons ( New York, 1985).

The term "industrial revolution" was introduced in Arnold Toynbee, Lectures on the Industrial Revolution ( New York, 1884; rpt. 1979). Older and/or conventional treatments of the industrial revolution, focusing mainly on Britain and Western Europe, are legion, and some still serve as a useful introduction to many basic features. See T. S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution, 1760-1830


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