1st Edition

The Industrial Turn in World History

ISBN 9781138672864
Published September 20, 2016 by Routledge
192 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

In The Industrial Turn in World History, Peter N. Stearns presents a concise yet far reaching overview of the worldwide shift from agricultural societies to industrial societies over the past two centuries. Putting the implications for individuals and societies in global context while simultaneously considering the limits of generalization across cultures, Stearns’s text explores the nature of industrialization across national and regional lines. Rather than portraying the Industrial Revolution as primarily a Western, early 19th-century development, this new narrative argues that the move to industrial societies is an ongoing and truly global shift. Taking a largely social and cultural approach, Stearns engages with the leading-edge approach of looking at emotion historically—allowing readers to ask questions about the impact of industrial society on emotional experience and happiness levels. This innovating framing allows for use in a variety of courses, including world history, economic history, and more general courses on the Industrial Revolution.  

Table of Contents

Preface: Why do we need another look at industrial society?

Chapter 1: The Agricultural Age: the achievements and limitations of several millennia of world history

Chapter 2: Building Industrial Society: the industrial revolution

Chapter 3: A New Social Framework

Chapter 4: Innovations in Personal Life: how deep was the industrial impact?

Chapter 5: Governments and Cultures

Chapter 6: The Global Arena: War and Peace

Chapter 7: The Downsides of Industrial Society


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Peter N. Stearns is University Professor of History at George Mason University. He is the author of Globalization in World History (2nd edition 2015), Childhood in World History (3rd edition 2015), Gender in World History (3rd edition 2015), Peace in World History (2014), and Human Rights in World History (2012), all in this series. Other books include A History of Shame (forthcoming), Guiding the American University: Challenges and Choices (2015), and Satisfaction Not Guaranteed: Dilemmas of Progress in Modern Society (2012).


With decades of research and reflection, Peter Stearns has done what he alone can do: combine balance, erudition, and nuance with clarity, succinctness, and humanity in this explanation of how industrialization has impacted modern life from childrearing, work, and play to government, religion, and warmaking across the globe.

Gary S. Cross, Distinguished Professor of Modern History, Pennsylvania State University


An accessible guide to the nature of industrialization and its impact, whose scope ranges from the intimacies of art and gender to the macro-historical forces of nationalism, globalization and war. Both a fine introduction to the subject and a superb resource for thematic courses in world history.

Marc Jason Gilbert, NEH Endowed Chair in World History, Hawaii Pacific University