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

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


“Empire of Things isn't simply an insightful and strangely pleasing learn, yet a very important one.”—NPR

What we devour has develop into a central—perhaps the central—feature of recent existence. Our economies reside or die through spending, we more and more outline ourselves through our possessions, and this ever-richer way of life has had a rare effect on our planet. How have we come to dwell with lots stuff, and the way has this replaced the process history?

In Empire of Things, Frank Trentmann unfolds the extreme tale of our sleek fabric global, from Renaissance Italy and overdue Ming China to today’s international financial system. whereas intake is frequently portrayed as a up to date American export, this huge and richly specific account exhibits that it's actually a very overseas phenomenon with a far longer and extra assorted background. Trentmann strains the effect of alternate and empire on tastes, as previously unique items like espresso, tobacco, Indian cotton and chinese language porcelain conquered the realm, and explores the transforming into call for for domestic furniture, trendy outfits and comfort that reworked inner most and public lifestyles. The 19th and 20th centuries introduced department shops, charge cards and ads, but in addition the increase of the moral client, new generational identities and, ultimately, the resurgence of the Asian consumer.

With an eye fixed to the current and destiny, Frank Trentmann offers a protracted view at the international demanding situations of our relentless pursuit of more—from waste and debt to emphasize and inequality. A masterpiece of analysis and storytelling a long time within the making, Empire of Things recounts the epic historical past of the products that experience seduced, enriched and unsettled our lives over the last 600 years.

Show sample text content

Download sample