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The history of nations is a history of haves and have-ts, and as we approach the millennium, the gap between rich and poor countries is widening. In this engrossing and important new work, eminent historian David Landes explores the complex, fascinating and often startling causes of the wealth and poverty of nations. The answers are found t only in the large forces at work in ecomies: geography, religion, the broad swings of politics, but also in the small surprising details. In Europe, the invention of spectacles doubled the working life of skilled craftsmen, and played a prominent role in the creation of articulated machines, and in China, the failure to adopt the clock fundamentally hindered ecomic development. The relief of poverty is vital to the survival of us all. As David Landes brilliantly shows, the key to future success lies in understanding the lessons the past has to teach us - lessons uniquely imparted in this groundbreaking and vital book which exemplifies narrative history at its best.
David Landes is an economist who has enjoyed a distinguished academic career which includes senior posts at Columbia University and Harvard. He has both written and edited a great deal, and his work has been published in the States and Europe.
Shortlisted for Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 1999.