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David Landes

Brad DeLong, Grasping Reality, We Economic Historians All Mourn That David Landes Has Died, here.

Let’s imagine that one wants to give students (or any other set of non-expert readers) a sweeping and illuminating introductory overview on the industrial revolution–what it was about, how & why it marked a major break in human history, why it was a socio-economic and socio-political transformation as well as a purely technological one, along with some consideration of the major controversies about its nature & causes & consequences–that is brief & compact, but also intellectually substantial & theoretically sophisticated, not to mention well written. As far as I can tell, the best available single piece of this sort is still David Landes’s 39-page [“Introduction”] to The Unbound Prometheus. At least, I’m not aware of a superior substitute that meets all those criteria…

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