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Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption, and Civil Society in Modern Britain (Paperback)
  • Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption, and Civil Society in Modern Britain (Paperback)

Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption, and Civil Society in Modern Britain (Paperback)

Paperback 464 Pages / Published: 22/01/2009
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One of Britain's defining contributions to the modern world, Free Trade united civil society and commerce and gave birth to consumer power. In this book, Frank Trentmann shows how the doctrine of Free Trade contributed to the growth of a democratic culture in Britain - and how it fell apart. Far from the cold economic doctrine of today, in an earlier battle over globalization Free Trade was a passionately held ideal, central to public life and national identity. Free Trade inspired popular entertainment and advertising, in seaside resorts, shows, and shopping streets. It mobilized an alliance of elites and the people, businessmen and working-class women, imperialists and internationalists. Free Trade Nation follows the creation of this culture in nineteenth-century Britain, and its subsequent unravelling in the First World War and the depression of the 1930s, when consumers and internationalists, labour and business now attacked it for sacrificing international stability and domestic welfare at the temple of cheapness. These successful attacks marked the end of a defining chapter in history.The popular culture of Free Trade was never to return. For anyone interested in the current problem of globalization, this book offers a vivid and thought-provoking perspective on the success and failure of Free Trade. For champions of trade liberalization, it is a reminder that culture, ethics and popular communication matter just as much as sound economics. Believers in Fair Trade, by contrast, will be surprised to learn that in the past it was Free Trade, not Fair Trade, that was seen to stand for values such as democracy, justice, and peace.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199567324
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 779 g
Dimensions: 234 x 159 x 34 mm

Trentmann has produced a valuable guide to free trade. * Journal of Liberal History *
Here we have 'a human history of Free Trade' that is at once a delight to read and a cause of profound intellectual stimulation. It graphically brings alive - with splendid colour reproductions of propaganda posters too - the popular passions and prejudices of a world that suddenly ended during the First World War...This is a book imbued with fine scholarship, but one that deserves a wide readership * Peter Clarke, Times Literary Supplement *
brilliant * Sunday Telegraph *
This is terrific history that will inspire economists to remember their subject really can arouse passion. * Evan Davis, BBC Economics Editor * inspired history...Trentmann's book unfolds a dramatic story...gripping * Neue Zuercher Zeitung *
Thoughtful and well-researched. * Christopher Harvie, The Independent *
[A] lucid history of free trade in Britain * David Connett, Sunday Express *
a landmark in economic history and the history of ideas * La Vie des Idees *
fascinating * Il Riformista *
...paints a vivid picture of the ideological controversy over Free Trade that remains relevant to this day. * Luxemburger Wort *
offers a fresh look at a chapter in British and world history, while at the same time providing a historical perspective on today's debate about globalisation, challenging the ways we have come to think about trade, justice and democracy. * Society Now *
Frank Trentmann...has not only added a great deal to our knowledge through painstaking research but has written about it with verve and energy and produced a most readable volume. * Reviews in Economic and Business History *
Free Trade Nation is history at its best: far-reaching and authoritative, its story of the rise and fall of free trade as a widely-held belief marked by justice, fairness, and peace provocatively refashions the history of early-twentieth-century Britain, reminds us of an age when popular politics exerted real power, and forces us to rethink our contemporary views of consumers, markets and morality. * Professor John Brewer, California Institute of Technology *
Absorbing * History Today *
a fascinating book, wide ranging, detailed, well organized, and written in an engaging style * American Historical Review *
Frank Trentmann's book will be the point of departure for any future scholarship on free trade... It is a ground-breaking study * European Review of History *
...original and thought provoking...Trentmann's reconstruction of consumer politics is both persuasive and authoritative * History *
...this impressive study...shows how liberalism turned into social democracy and how the arguments for and against Free Trade both shaped national life and embodied current views regarding man, government and society. After this book, no study of Victorian liberalism can be conducted in quite the same way. * Contemporary Review *
In writing Free Trade Nation, Trentmann set out to tell the personal histories of free trade and also to write a new political history. He succeeds admirably on both accounts...Free Trade Nation should be read by anyone interested in the history of modern Britain. * British Scholar, 'Book of the Month' (December 2008) *
...a major scholarly work [that] forces the reader to grapple with basic questions relating economics to politics, consumption to democracy, and offers the tools for doing so in a comparative, global frame...deserves to be read as much by by scholars... Trentmann offers an important contribution, both to the history of Great Britain and to political history more generally. * Journal of Consumer Policy *
immensely important and exciting book, whose arguments will need to be seriously addressed and assessed by students of both economic and political history. * Economic History Review *
a brilliant and multi-faceted...full of unexpected insights...Not only a product of wonderful scholarship but also great fun... It is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of modern Britain. * English Historical Review *
[a] brilliant achievement * Judges' citation for the Whitfield Prize of the Royal Historical Society *
an important contribution to the cultural and social history of economic controversies. * Revue d'histoire du XIX siecle *
Trentmann has written an excellent book, extensively and meticulously researched, thoughtful, nuanced, and eloquent...a book of enduring importance * Journal of British Studies *
the novelty of this account lies in its pioneering attempt to turn the attention of political historians away from elections and parties towards an understanding of consumption and citizenship as central to the nature of political culture ...carefully constructed, engagingly written, finely illustrated, and suitably well-marketed. * H-Albion *
Extremely timely * Nikkei (Japan) *

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