Sven Beckert is Laird Bell Professor of History and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard University. He is the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History (2014). Christine Desan is Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism at Harvard University. She is the author of Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (2014).
Few historical subfields are more important and timely than the critical history of capitalism. In this volume, Sven Beckert and Christine Desan have assembled cutting-edge work on topics as diverse as slavery, credit, insurance and risk, financial crises, race, gender, agriculture, and law and regulation. These essays combine chronological breadth, analytical depth, and geographic scope, linking the micro and macro, the local and the global. Essential reading.--Thomas J. Sugrue, New York University Sven Beckert and Christine Desan are leaders in the burgeoning history of capitalism field, and they have put together a volume of outstanding scholars whose essays, in their chronological reach and subject matter, show this new literature at its best. A very fine and promising collection.--Steven Hahn, New York University This stunning volume not only captures the most vibrant, challenging work in the history of capitalism, but also distills the central themes and defining contributions of the field. The essays speak to all historians, not just those working in the history of capitalism. A must read.--Laura F. Edwards, Duke University From the creditor constitution to the market for slave clothing to early American mercantilist thinking, this deftly curated book samples some of the best work that the history of capitalism literature has to offer. Readers interested in new and provocative explorations of the politics, law, and culture enmeshed in American economic institutions need look no further.--Suresh Naidu, Columbia University American Capitalism represents the coming of age of a field of historical research. Rarely, in any field, has one volume featured the work of so many talented and accomplished historians. Each chapter breaks fresh ground and proposes new lines of inquiry. The editors have assembled a landmark and agenda-setting book that no student of economic life in the United States can afford to ignore.--Jonathan Levy, University of Chicago