A Splendid Exchange

A Splendid Exchange

How Trade Shaped the World

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Adam Smith wrote that man has an intrinsic "propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another." But how did trade evolve to the point where we don't think twice about biting into an apple from the other side of the world? In this sweeping narrative history of world trade, William J. Bernstein tells the extraordinary story of global commerce from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it today. He transports readers from ancient sailing ships that brought the silk trade from China to Rome in the second century to the rise and fall of the Portuguese monopoly in spices in the sixteenth; from the American trade battles of the early twentieth century to the modern era of televisions from Taiwan, lettuce from Mexico, and T-shirts from China. Lively, authoritative, and astonishing in scope, A Splendid Exchange is a riveting narrative that views trade and globalization not in political terms, but rather as an evolutionary process as old as war and religion--a historical constant--that will continue to foster the growth of intellectual capital, shrink the world, and propel the trajectory of the human species.
Publisher: New York :, Atlantic Monthly Press,, 2008.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780871139795
Branch Call Number: 382 B531S
382 BE
Characteristics: x, 467 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 20, 2020

All the stuff about the middle ages, moslem, Chinese and east asian development from the end of the Roman Empire that you were never taught in school history classes. Once back on the beaten track after about 1400 the subject is much more common knowledge and less interesting as a result.

Jun 22, 2018

This is a terrific book.

The history is fascinating and clearly explained with anecdotes, stories, maps and data. I learned a lot from it, both large and small. For example, if you think you know all about the Boston Tea Party, read this. A very interesting perspective. If you love coffee and wondered how it was discovered, also dive in.

Also do something fun: before you read it, go to your kitchen and look at all of the spices and ingredients sitting in dozens of bottles that you take for granted, then read it. The risks, rewards, lives lost and the mechanics of buying and transporting spices and many other "everyday items", over several thousand years, is amazing.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top