The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution

Excerpt

This book is the work of a man who died at the age of thirty. He did not live to write even this one small book with his own hand. It was written for him, after his death, by his friends and pupils, out of the notes they had taken of a course of lectures that he had delivered in 1880-1881 in the University of Oxford and out of his own notes on the subject. This was, for them, a labour of love, and they performed it so skilfully that the book which they have produced bears the authentic stamp of Arnold Toynbee's personality. Because of this personality which shines through the words, this book is one of that small number of books, dealing with matters of fact, that share the privilege of poetry. It will always remain fresh, and therefore will always continue to find readers.

Though Arnold Toynbee's account of the Industrial Revolution does not become 'out of date,' it does, of course, 'date.' One of the features of the book that gives it a lasting interest is that it is a pioneer work. Toynbee was the first economic historian to think of, and to set out to describe, the Industrial Revolution as a single great historical event, in which all the details come together to make an intelligible and significant picture. In doing this, he created the frame within which all subsequent work on the Industrial Revolution has been carried out. The work done during the seventy years since the publication of Toynbee's book has been great in quantity and fine in quality. The evidence has been repeatedly worked over and revised. Masses of additional statistics have been collected and analysed. And, in this sense, Toynbee's work has been superseded long ago. Yet, as a masterly first reconnaissance of a very important field of historical study, this pioneer work by a young man is still as much alive as ever it was.

If it is true that The Industrial Revolution is a reflexion of . . .

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