Rethinking the Industrial Revolution: Five Centuries of Transition from Agrarian to Industrial Capitalism in England, Michael Andrew Žmolek offers the first in-depth study of the evolution of English manufacturing from the feudal and early modern periods within the context of the development of agrarian capitalism. With an emphasis on the relationship between Parliament and working Britons, this work challenges readers to 'rethink' the common perception of the role of the state in the first industrial revolution as essentially passive.
The work chronicles how a long train of struggles led by artisans resisting efforts by employers to transform production along capitalist lines, prompted employers to appeal to the state to suppress this resistance by coercion.
Michael Andrew Žmolek, Ph.D. (2009, York University) teaches World History and International Studies at the University of Iowa, having previously taught at the University of Dubuque. His published articles explore environmental problems, development issues and the origin of capitalism.
"[...] the effort of reading through this tome has been worthwhile. An attempt to apply the Brenner thesis to the development of capitalist industry the work is in fact an impressively erudite and up-to-date Marxist review of English economic and political history from the 14th to the 19th century. [...] the author's analysis is based on an impressive and up-to-date bibliography." – Henry Heller,
The University of Manitoba,/i>, in: The Free Library
"It should be said [...] that Žmolek's book is a superb read and is a remarkable piece of scholarship. He has a unparallelled grasp of the material, both in terms of the historical record and his understanding of contemporary analyses of the subject under discussion. This book will undoubtedly be debated and studied for many years." - Resolute Reader
Table of contents
PART I: ENGLAND TRANSFORMED: MANUFACTURING AND AGRARIAN CAPITALISM, 1348–1783
1. The Pre-History of Industry
2. Parliament and Revolution
3. Agrarian Capitalism: The Key to Britain’s Rise to Power
4. An Empire in Crisis
5. Harvesting the Agrarian Revolution
PART II: ‘SUCH MACHINES … AS CANNOT ERR’: CAPITAL AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE MAKING OF INDUSTRIAL ENGLAND, 1700–1800
6. Technology and History
7. The Social Origins of the Factory
8. Factories and Machinery
9. Capital and Industry
PART III: CUSTOM’S LAST STAND: THE RISE AND FALL OF ARTISAN-LED RESISTANCE TO CAPITALISM IN ENGLAND, 1783–1848
10. Custom and Law
11. Rebellion and Reaction
12. Class and the State
13. Reform and the Oligarchy
14. Chartists and Liberals
Readers interested in the history of capitalism and industrialization, focusing on the role of the state, or anyone with an interest in English history or early modern European history.