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Fisherman’s Friend

David Landes, 27 October 1988

The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables 
by Michael Young.
Thames and Hudson, 301 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 500 01443 4
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... Michael Young is a rarity among sociologists: he has a feel for the people he writes about, and he writes well. When he takes us into a Merseyside factory and walks us around in the company of Joe Murgatroyd, works superintendant, we can hear the shoes clopping, the machines humming or missing, we can see the workers cocking an ear, and we can feel the anxiety of the foremen running to keep things in hand ...

Time, Gentlemen, Please

David Cannadine, 19 July 1984

The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918 
by Stephen Kern.
Weidenfeld, 372 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 297 78341 6
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Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World 
by David Landes.
Harvard, 482 pp., £17, January 1984, 0 674 76800 0
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... In a characteristically versatile display of cultural, technological and economic history, David Landes looks at the evolution of the clock as a machine, and at the triumph of public time as a discipline. And in an exceptionally wide-ranging foray into intellectual history, Stephen Kern explores the ways in which private notions of time (and ...

Hayek and His Overcoat

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 1 October 1998

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations 
by David Landes.
Little, Brown, 650 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 316 90867 3
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The Commanding Heights 
by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw.
Simon and Schuster, 457 pp., £18.99, February 1998, 0 684 82975 4
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... business: theirs was to pay and obey. Their leaders promised not to repeat their lèse-majesté. David Landes takes the story from the scholar of Islam, Michael Cook. It is, for him, a moral tale. Autocracies squeeze, steal and demean. ‘Only societies with room for multiple initiatives,’ he insists, ‘from below more than from above, can think in ...

Downward Mobility

Linda Colley, 4 May 1989

The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians 
edited by John Cannon, R.H.C. Davis, William Doyle and Jack Greene.
Blackwell, 480 pp., £39.95, September 1988, 9780631147084
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Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian, 1772-1794 
by Patricia Craddock.
Johns Hopkins, 432 pp., £19, February 1989, 0 8018 3720 0
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Gibbon: Making History 
by Roy Porter.
Palgrave, 187 pp., £14.95, February 1989, 0 312 02728 1
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Macaulay 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Trafalgar Square, 160 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 9780297794684
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Acton 
by Hugh Tulloch.
Trafalgar Square, 144 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 297 79470 1
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... rather like reports from less-than-overwhelmed referees. Asa Briggs is dismissed in a few lines; David Landes is damned with the faint praise of ‘considerable literary skills and a certain old-fashioned rhetoric’; and Lord Dacre is rapped on the knuckles for failing to write a big book on the Enlightenment. Such comments are more revealing of their ...

The Ghostwriter’s Story

James Sanders: Colombia’s History of Violence, 24 January 2008

Evil Hour in Colombia 
by Forrest Hylton.
Verso, 174 pp., £12.99, September 2006, 1 84467 551 3
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... of folly and murder.’ In his celebration of the West, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (1998), David Landes contemptuously describes 19th-century Latin American states as having ‘republican trappings’ that unsuccessfully disguised the reality of societies dominated by ‘a small group of rascals’ while ‘the masses squatted and scraped.’ Even ...

A Place for Hype

Edward Tenner: Old Technology, 10 May 2007

The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 
by David Edgerton.
Profile, 270 pp., £18.99, January 2007, 978 1 86197 296 5
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... by Robert Merton: ‘If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.’ David Edgerton’s The Shock of the Old, with its ironic echoes of bestsellers by Robert Hughes and Alvin Toffler, is not an attack on innovation as such. Rather, it is a call for a new way of thinking about technological change, not as a sequence of ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... on to Coleridge, Chaucer, Fielding and Petronius, and then had a go at Proust, Mann, Boswell and David Hume. He took a turn through French literature then doubled back to the English Romantics. He read Cicero and Virgil, Gibbon and Congreve, Goethe and Nestroy, Machiavelli and Hobbes, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy, Mikhail Sholokhov and ...

To Be Worth Forty Shillings

Jonah Miller: Early Modern Inequality, 2 February 2017

Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status and the Social Order in Early Modern England 
by Alexandra Shepard.
Oxford, 357 pp., £65, February 2015, 978 0 19 960079 3
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... except their labour. In their 1979 case study of Terling, a village in Essex, Keith Wrightson and David Levine described a massive upward redistribution of wealth between 1525 and 1700, and descriptions of early modern society since theirs have been full of people like Edward Ballard, a ‘pore needy felloe’ with ‘noe certen place of aboad’ living apart ...

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