Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On the Blogosphere's critique of A Farewell to Alms: The author responds

Gregory Clark must be a happy man. His new book is not yet available, but it is already widely discussed in the media, provoking a critical reaction in the blogosphere. A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, in case you have missed all of this, puts evolution and natural selection at the center of the history of the Industrial Revolution. The New York Times Science section essay on the book is noted here on the Legal History Blog.

Via Ralph Luker, Clark responds to his critics on Cliopatria. His bottom line: the critics need to read the book (as soon as they can get it...). The publication date is allegedly July 27, 2007, but Amazon says the book ships in 3-6 weeks(!). The Princeton University Press website has no information about availability, making it appear as if the book is available now, but that is apparently not the case. I would phone them to check.

In the meantime, the Introduction to the book can be read here. But readers will probably find more satisfying Clark's underlying research, which can be found in his working papers, available via his website. For example, there is The Great Escape: The Industrial Revolution in Theory and in History.

In his next project, we might not be surprised if Clark turns to the disconnect between promotion and production in academic presses....But at under $18.00 on Amazon, I suspect readers will spring for the book even after reading the papers.