Four hundred years ago the pattern of human life and thought was strikingly different from our own. What main features led to the change in that pattern? Professor Nef, a distinguished historian, suggests that ecomic history cant alone give the answer: it must be in terms of changing attitudes and interests as much as in terms of a developing ecomy and a growing techlogy. The origins of industrialism have to be sought in history as a whole. Man's concern for truth, goodness and beauty has done as much to produce the modern world as ecomic institutions and natural resources. Professor Nef has it in mind that, for a historian, the importance of human nature cant be made subservient to that of productivity statistics; in this book he portrays the birth and development of our industrial civilisation in a clearer light. The book is developed from the second series of Wiles lectures given at Queen's University, Belfast and is a successor to Man on his Past by Herbert Butterfield.