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The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor (review)

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor (review) The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor. By david s. landes. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998. Pp. xxi + 650. $30 (cloth); $15.95 (paper). Stunning. Startling. Mystifying. Reactions to David Landes's latest tour de force will no doubt run the gamut. Filled with pithy sketches of nations (why weren't the French troubled by air pollution?--"a society that could smoke gauloises could breathe anything" [p. 469]), witty summaries of history (on Germany's invasion of Russia in World War II: the Soviets "had slept with the devil and now felt his fangs" [p. 467]), and cynical asides (on media presentations of Africa: all those "prostrate fly-specked children" [p. 506]), The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is filled with unforgettable images and supremely confident pronouncements on world history. Amid the endearing details, Landes has an argument to make. At one level, the argument is one that I find persuasive and have long agreed with: in the "history of economic development, it is . . . culture [that] makes all the difference" (p. 516). The nations of Europe, particularly northwest Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan, worked harder and tried harder to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor (review)

Journal of World History , Volume 11 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © 2000 by University of Hawai'i Press.
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1527-8050
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Abstract

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor. By david s. landes. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998. Pp. xxi + 650. $30 (cloth); $15.95 (paper). Stunning. Startling. Mystifying. Reactions to David Landes's latest tour de force will no doubt run the gamut. Filled with pithy sketches of nations (why weren't the French troubled by air pollution?--"a society that could smoke gauloises could breathe anything" [p. 469]), witty summaries of history (on Germany's invasion of Russia in World War II: the Soviets "had slept with the devil and now felt his fangs" [p. 467]), and cynical asides (on media presentations of Africa: all those "prostrate fly-specked children" [p. 506]), The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is filled with unforgettable images and supremely confident pronouncements on world history. Amid the endearing details, Landes has an argument to make. At one level, the argument is one that I find persuasive and have long agreed with: in the "history of economic development, it is . . . culture [that] makes all the difference" (p. 516). The nations of Europe, particularly northwest Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan, worked harder and tried harder to

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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