Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First

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Penguin Books Limited, Jan 28, 2016 - History - 880 pages
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The epic history of consumption, and the goods that have transformed our lives over the past 600 years

What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present. Astonishingly wide-ranging and richly detailed, Empire of Things explores how we have come to live with so much more, how this changed the course of history, and the global challenges we face as a result.

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User Review  - Paul_S - LibraryThing

Unstructured litany of interesting transformations in consumerism. Keeps jumping around geographically and chronologically like a time-travelling jittery bunny with ADHD on speed. Read full review

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User Review  - mcdenis - LibraryThing

This is a monumental work that describes what we value and accumulate as “stuff”from the 15th Century to the 21st Century with statistics, charts and copious footnotes. Trentmann debunks many of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Frank Trentmann is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, and directed the 5 million Cultures of Consumption research programme. His last book, Free Trade Nation, won the Whitfield Prize for outstanding historical scholarship and achievement from the Royal Historical Society. He was educated at Hamburg University, the LSE and at Harvard, where he received his PhD. In 2014 he was Moore Distinguished Fellow at Caltech.

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