The Industrial Revolution that began in Great Britain in the mid-seventeenth century transformed the British economy--and later the economies of Western Europ and the U.S.--from a rural, agricultral system into an industrial society, centered around the factory system of mass production and specialized labor. the right mix of social, political and legal conditions in Britain at the time led to the discovery of labor. The right mix of social, political and legal conditions in Britain at the time led to the discovery of fresh sources of power and energy, and to advances in agriculture, manufacturing, communication and transportation. Notable results included the steam engine, which made possible everything from textile factories to railroads, and, later in the U.S., the cotton gin, electric light, and automobiles. This comprehensive volume explores all these events and more, including the aftermath of the Revolution--its spread beyond Britain and the U.S. to Asia and throughout the world, allowing for a higher standard of living while challenging that standard with increased pollution and health problems, a widened economic and social class gap, and a weakening of traditional family structure. Biographical sketches of key figures, a chronology of events, primary document excerpts from the period, and a print and nonprint source bibliography supplement the work.
"This volume offers a comprehensive look at what some historians call one of the seminal events in the history of man. The first three chapters set the stage, reviewing the historical perspectives and ongoing debates about the industrial revolution and describing the socio-economic and agricultural conditions in Great Britain preceding large-scale industrial change. While many titles focus exclusively on the industrial revolution in Great Britain or America, this volume devotes four separate chapters to these two countries in addition to Europe and the world beyond the West. Following these chapters is a section of three to four page biographies on 15 people who made important contributions to the Industrial Revolution and a set of 21 primary source documents, among them government reports, period journal articles, poetry and literary excerpts. An annotated bibliography of digital and print resources and a general index complete the volume. The global view of the industrial revolution, along with the primary resource documents and biographies, make this a valuable resource for extending lessons or beginning research on the Industrial Revolution. Highly recommended for high school, public and university libraries."
--Doug's Student Reference Room, August 2009
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