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Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization Hardcover – May 28, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Globalization may seem like a relatively new term, but Chandra, a director for the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, argues intriguingly that its history ranges across centuries, beginning when the first humans left Africa, "following game herds... or shellfish beds around the Arabian Peninsula." Chadra illuminates the stepping stones of mankind's global conquest, such as early trading routes, the domestication of horses, the rise of the world's great religions, the slave trade, the World Wide Web and the spread of diseases like SARS and Avian flu, looking from angles psychological, geographic, philosophical, theological, commercial and military. With the perspective of a historian and the savvy of a political scientist, Chanda skillfully argues that globalization was, is and will always be inevitable (a particularly revealing statistic: "migrants constitute 20 percent of the population in some 41 of the world's largest countries"). Using ubiquitous examples like FedEx, McDonalds and Starbucks, Chanda uncovers common denominators and shared consequences, underpinning his analysis with anecdotes of commerce through the ages (the discovery of coffee by a goat herder, the Starbucks opened in the "five-hundred-year-old Forbidden City compound in Beijing"). Like a good mystery, Chanda's chronology is rich with surprises and moments of revelation.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"[An] engaging analysis. . . . This is a book filled with fascinating information. And Chanda makes the most of his training as both a journalist and a scholar, bringing to his tale a reporter's eye and sense of pacing as well as an impressive breadth of knowledge."—Jeffrey N. Wasserstein, Newsweek
(Jeffrey N. Wasserstein Newsweek 2007-05-29)

“Nayan Chanda has written an invaluable, and in my view unique, history of globalization—how the concept emerged, evolved, was defused, and has now come to define today's international system. I learned a ton from this book, and I've already written two books on the subject. Students will find its analyses and anecdotes easily accessible and experts will find its arguments original and provocative. It is a real contribution to the literature—a must-read for anyone interested in understanding or teaching this subject.”—Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World Is Flat
(Thomas L. Friedman)

Bound Together is a graceful recounting of modern globalization with a panoramic perspective. Studded with meaningful and entertaining anecdotes, it is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we got where we are today.”—Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics
(Joseph E. Stiglitz)

“A magnificent and masterly achievement. Nayan Chanda has taken a buzzword of our era, globalization, and defined it in the full, rich, complex context of a phenomenon that has shaped humanity over the millennia.  He conveys his prodigious knowledge with clarity, wit, and narrative verve, weaving themes from the history of science, politics, commerce, and religion into a coherent, compelling story.”—Strobe Talbott, president, The Brookings Institution
(Strobe Talbott)

’Bound Together is a wonderful book that provides us with a rich and holistic perspective on globalization. The book is a must for every student of globalization.”—R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Ltd.
(R. Narayana Murthy)

Bound Together is destined to be a classic book for the 21st Century. Author Nayan Chanda has combined deep and far-ranging scholarship with a journalist’s touch for story telling to craft an enthralling narrative of humankind from our birth in Africa to our addiction to the Internet. Chanda is a true global citizen. His book should be read in every home, school, business and embassy in the world, and become a vital part of our common intellectual heritage.”—Ambassador Derek Shearer, Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and Director of Global Affairs, Occidental College, Los Angeles
(Ambassador Derek Shearer)

"Chanda's account of globalization is a breath of fresh air. His treatment of the topic, from its origins with the first humans out of Africa to its most recent appearance in financial markets, is comprehensive, informed, and judicious. Refreshingly personal and humorous, it is probably the best single-volume work on world/global history now available, and a must for all students of the subject. Along the way, India, for example, becomes as much a focus as Europe in the overall story."—Bruce Mazlish, Professor of History Emeritus, MIT
(Bruce Mazlish)

“It is, in my view, a wonderful read—incredibly informative, insightful, and written with energy, eloquence, and simplicity. The themes were fresh and the organization especially interesting. Some of the great strengths of the book are the way he relates history to the present, the global perspective throughout, the broader-than-economics focus; and the way he describes the overlap of forces that have led to the world we now live in. My guess is that this book will be widely read and have a special place on any bookshelf that contains works on globalization.”—Jeffrey Garten, former Dean and Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade, Finance, and Business at the Yale School of Management
(Jeffrey Garten)

“Given the avalanche of books on globalization it is reasonable to assume that for now the subject has been exhausted. This assumption crumbles after one reads Nayan Chanda's masterful analysis and discovers that this gifted writer has added a new and important layer to our understanding of why and how we are all ‘Bound Together.’ A must read.”—Moisés Naim, Editor in Chief, Foreign Policy
(Moisés Naim)

“This book is a breakthrough. It tells the story of why humanity is left with no other endgame than finding the principles and practices that will answer the question, How on Earth can we live together?”—Bo Ekman, founder and chairman, Tällberg Foundation 
(Bo Ekman)

"In this richly engaging history of globalization, Chanda depicts today's growing global interconnectedness as part of a larger drama that has unfolded over thousands of years, propelled by human impulses to explore, prosper, and dominate. The book's narrative revolves around the stories of individuals and groups on the move across continents and eras."—Foreign Affairs
(Foreign Affairs 2007-04-15)

"A most readable history of human interconnectedness. The book reminds us of something important: Although globalization may seem to intrude unexpectedly in our lives, whether in the form of foreign capital or the SARS virus, all it really does is disclose to us who we already were. . . . This book tells a happy story, of a great community more voluntary than compulsory."—Gaurav Tiwari, New York Sun
(Gaurav Tiwari New York Sun)

“A refreshing look at globalization in long historical and very wide geographic perspective, which poses clearly the contemporary political dilemmas we all face.”—­Immanuel Wallerstein, Senior Research Scholar, Yale University
(Immanuel Wallerstein)

“Nayan Chanda gives us in this volume an excellent account, both erudite and entertaining, of the globalization of human interaction. This book vividly portrays the long and sinuous, yet inexorable quest of humanity to reintegrate itself into just one family, as we once were.”—Ernesto Zedillo, Director Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Former President of Mexico
(Ernesto Zedillo)

"By unbundling the attributes of modern globalization and linking them to an almost endless chain of historical precedents, Mr. Chanda demystifies a phenomenon invested by its enemies with nearly satanic properties."—William Grimes, New York Times
(William Grimes New York Times 2007-05-30)

"A lively book that is packed with incident, anecdote and derring-do. . . . Mr. Chanda makes a solid and attractive case for globalisation and its potential as a force for good. But he also has a great deal of sympathy for globalisation's losers."—Economist
(Economist 2007-07-28)

"While most of us consider globalization to be a purely contemporary phenomenon—conjuring up images of multinational coffee chains and multilingual call centers—to Chanda it is as old as humanity itself, and as complex and unpredictable. . . . His encyclopedic survey of the forces and events that have connected individuals, societies and cultures is nimbly paced and punctuated by lively anecdotes. . ."—Ishaan Thardoor, Time
(Ishaan Thardoor Time 2007-08-10)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (May 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300112017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300112016
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Izaak VanGaalen on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The central thesis of this book is that crossing borders - or what is now called globalization - is actually nothing new, it has been going on since the first humans left their African homeland at the beginning of time. The difference between now and then is that new technologies have expanded the volume, speed and content of border crossings. Nayan Chanda has given us a sweeping overview of the history of globalization from the perspective of traders, preachers, adventurers, and warriors.

Chanda's approach is descriptive rather than prescriptive. He is well aware of the current debate on who globalization actually benefits. On the one hand, globalization has benefited millions in the developing world who now at least have low wages as opposed to no wages at all. Cheerleaders will tell you the rising tide lifts all boats. Critics, on the other hand, charge that it is responsible for many of the world's problems such as global warming, the rise in commodity prices, child labor, and American imperialism. There is certainly some truth in these charges. Chanda recognizes the debate but tries to stay above it. He argues that it is pointless to fight globalization because it has always been with us and it is here to stay. Besides that, no single entity controls it, so it would require the efforts of many to manage it.

Chanda's story begins with an analysis of his own DNA a few years ago. That test showed that he was descended from an African father more than 36,000 years ago. His ancestors were part of a group that represented some of the earliest migrations into India.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Pranay Gupte on June 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Brother Enemy" was always considered by scholars and laypeople alike as the defining work on the war in Cambodia, and Nayan Chanda's reporting was simply brilliant. I predict that "Bound Together" will similarly be regarded as a defining work -- this time on globalization. It's a marvelous read, and the book reinforces Chanda's reputation as a careful reporter and first-rate story teller.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Newsreader on May 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nayan Chanda is a great storyteller as well as a journalist and scholar. This is a book to finish in a weekend or take on vacation--you can skim or savor. If you are a reader, you will love it, even if your knowledge or interest in this area is limited (as is mine). The editorial reviews agree that the book is sophisticated, so you can trust that the research and conclusions will serve you well in any discussion you may have about globalization, human history, or the future of our world. I plan to give this as a graduation gift to several young friends--
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David C. Casler on November 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What made this book fascinating is that it's told entirely from a non-Western point of view, yet it ties in perfectly with current events. We Americans get bound up in our view of history, which is primarily Europe's, but as Chanda so wonderfully tells the story, much happened of which the Europeans were not aware. I highly recommend this book as an essential primer for those not familiar with the global history of globalization.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Cara on January 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The chapters are succinct and the author has a global, over-reaching perspective that captivates the reader. I looked forward to reading it every night for a week. Bound Together surpassed my expectations. I initially ordered it along with three other books on similar topics about capitalism and globalization. I read the others first because I thought they would be better. However, Bound Together was the best of the bunch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Rosenblum on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Part economic history, part paen to increasing economic integration, Chandra has written a highly readable account and provided a good argument for just what the term "globalization" means.

Chandra begins at, well, the beginning - when mankind first walked out of Africa and began its dominance of the earth. The following chapters relate how the ensuing centuries brought these disparate cousins back together through trade, war and missionary work (to include, quite perceptively, the 20th century missionaries - the NGO community.)

Chandra is a proponent of the globalization process, and what he gets across in his book is that not only is this process generally positive one for humanity - it's something that has been going on for a long, long time. Basically since humans spread across the globe, we have had "globalization."

This may be a surprise to those who think that the revolution is coming. However, Chandra makes a good case that there is nothing particularly nefarious about globalization, and that, despite its rough edges (and he does not pull punches when discussing the downsides) globalization is the best opportunity for the global have-nots to better their plight.

All in all, a very good read
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