Acclaimed by readers and critics around the globe, A Splendid Exchange is a sweeping narrative history of world trade, from Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. to the firestorm over globalization today. It brilliantly explores trade’s colorful and contentious past and provides new insights into its future. This book traces the story of global commerce from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it today. A Splendid Exchange conveys trade and globalization, not in political terms, but rather as an ever-evolving historical constant, like war or religion, that will continue to foster the growth of intellectual capital, shrink the world, and propel the trajectory of the human species.
"A Splendid Exchange is really much more than a history of trade. In William Bernstein's deft treatment, it becomes pretty much a history of the world. The age-old urge to profit by buying low and selling high led to empires, wars, trade restrictions, and--more recently--violent protests against economic and financial globalization. Bernstein's vast knowledge of trade's past is great preparation for dealing effectively with today's controversies about its future."
"In A Splendid Exchange, Bill Bernstein has further burnished his credentials as both an economic historian and a felicitous writer. He has given us an eye-opening, brilliantly researched, anecdote-laced, and exciting-to-read history of global trade. Readers of this compelling saga will be intellectually rewarded, enticed, and amused--and more sensitively attuned to the challenges of today's version of the globalization that has driven so much of civilization's economic growth and social progress."
"A Splendid Exchange is filled with adroit observations on the evolution of trade from the ancient world to today. Bernstein draws upon a vast historical context to show how trade's development is part of society's natural progression toward prosperity, and he makes a convincing case that trade and trade policy have been the catalyst for the development of ambitious nations. He correctly asserts that we must be aware of how it has shaped the past because it will continue to have a pivotal role--for better and for worse--as we move into the future. Politicians take heed!"
"Bernstein illuminates modern debates in a sweeping history of international trade, weaving skillfully between rollicking adventures and scholarship. His history of trade from the ancients to the present is a story of our irrepressible urge to exchange goods, which in turn fostered exchanges of art, science, and ideas. The story of trade is the story of humankind; all in all, a happy story indeed."
"Think contentious debate over globalization is something new? Think again. With a staggering understanding of the role of trade in history and a storyteller's touch for illuminating its human impact, William Bernstein takes us back to the days of `ghost ships' and perilous land journeys to explain how age-old debates over trade's winners and losers shape today's bitter divisions over free trade and protectionism. Along the way, Bernstein uncovers the roots of Sino-American trade tensions and explains how century-old backlashes over free trade continue to reverberate as the world's nations become ever more connected to each other through commerce. Bernstein has given us a master's insights into the past to help us understand an issue of deep divisions in the present age."
"Bernstein's powerful book demonstrates that trade is a fascinating, pervasive, and often dominant factor in human history. But Bernstein also provides us with memorable stories about nations around the world and through the centuries. Economics, sociology, military strategy, and even health care are here, as well as a striking group of vivid personalities. The book is not just essential reading; it is fun all the way."
"Bill Bernstein is a funny, lively storyteller who engages us with rich stories that tell how international trade and economic history have evolved together from the Stone Age on. This book is a wonderful way to learn history, geography and economics. As I read it, I felt like a kid reading about Uncle Scrooge's adventures among old civilizations in strange lands, all the while harvesting ideas for my classes."