8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Very Generative of New Thinking in Economic History,
This review is from: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Hardcover)
The value of this book is enormous and is reflected well in the large number of high quality reviews posted. Above all else the value of the book is that it makes you look at data both new and familiar in radically different ways. I admire a book that sets out right at the beginning its intent to provoke new research, counter argument and hope to move our knowledge without arrogantly asserting that it has found the Holy Grail of explanation. I was not entirely convinced by his thesis that differential survival rates deployed middle class values downward; but it is very challenging and intriguing. I was even less convinced by this application of this to current developing countries, but as part of an explanation I could see many of his insight contributing to understanding if not taken in isolation. So I strongly recommend this book as a primer in new data and new approaches and I think that the author really wants us to think deeply about what he is saying and improve on it, refine it, refute it and this is a welcome change. I hope the University of California Davis increases his salary as per his humorous footnote on economists being overpaid everywhere but Davis.