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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

A Short History of the British Industrial Revolution

ISBN 9780230579255
Publication Date December 2010
Formats Hardcover Ebook Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

Listen to author Emma Griffin discussing the British Industrial Revolution on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wr9r7
Why was the British industrial revolution such a pivotal event in world history?

This succinct introduction explains what the Industrial Revolution was, when exactly it occurred and why it happened in Britain first. Providing a clear and compelling synthesis of the latest research on industrialization, and illustrated with newspaper articles, photographs and graphs, the book is aimed at students without any prior knowledge.

Griffin assesses the best known explanations for the industrial revolution, and argues that industrialization is to be understood chiefly as the switch to a new source of fuel (coal) coupled with the emergence of new technologies. Situating British industrialisation in a global context, she evaluates what benefits, if any, the world's first industrial revolution brought to the ordinary men and women whose labour made it happen.

EMMA GRIFFIN is Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of East Anglia. She has previously taught at Cambridge and Sheffield and held visiting fellowships in New York and Paris. She is the author of England's Revelry: A History of Popular Sports and Pastimes, 1660-1800 (OUP 2005) and Blood Sport: A History of Hunting in Britain Since 1066 (Yale 2007) and has appeared on BBC radio and television.

Counting Growth: Measuring the Economy
A Growing Population
A Mobile Population
Worlds of Work
The 'Mechanical Age': Technology, Innovation and Industrialisation
Coal: the Key to the British Industrial Revolution?
Why was Britain first? The Global Context for Industrialisation
Winners and Losers: Standards of Living in the Industrial Revolution


'The volume has a clear focus and, didactic in tone, it incorporates much recent research. Griffin's survey of technological change is detailed and critical, particularly her questioning of the force of new technologies, especially steam power, in fuelling eceonomic growth.'- Economic History Review 'The strength of Griffin's book lies in its fresh conceptual approach and well-focused, analytical structure that bridges the major disagreements among scholars on the topic...an excellent book'. - Gerard Koot, Chancellor Professor of History, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA '...a particularly welcome account, not least because it asks the question of why Britain came first.' - Jeremy Black, BBC History Magazine
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