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400 Years Of Freethought
Samuel Porter Putnam
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
Philip Pullman, Jacob Grimm
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
Jennifer Michael Hecht
The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America
Paul E. Johnson, Sean Wilentz

The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy.

The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy - Kenneth Pomeranz Pomeranz de-centers Europe, in part by emphasizing “reciprocal comparisons between parts of Europe and parts of China, India and so on that seem…to have been similarly positioned within their continental worlds.” (10) The use of nations as the basis of analysis makes little sense, he suggests, when China was as large and populous as Europe, and the Yangzi Delta was equivalent in many ways to England. (13) “Our perception of an interacting system from which one part benefited more than others,” Pomeranz says, “does not in itself justify calling that part the ‘center’ and assuming that it is the unshaped shaper of everything else. We will see, instead, vectors of influence moving in various directions.” (10) Pomeranz suggests that the timely discovery of America by Europeans provided them an opportunity to avoid moving onto the type of labor-intensive, land-scarce economic path taken by India and China. The discovery of coal was the other major element of the divergence, although in a very interesting aside, Pomeranz calls attention to the influence of the addictive New World stimulants sugar, tobacco, cocoa, and coffee, which along with tea became early mainstays of a mass consumer market. (281) Overall, he concludes that “forces outside the market and conjunctures beyond Europe deserve a central place in explaining why western Europe’s otherwise largely unexceptional core achieved unique breakthroughs and wound up as the privileged center of the nineteenth century’s new world economy.” (297)