Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Global Mississippi Valley, Edison, An "Unfinished Empire": This Week in the Book Pages

This week the Wall Street Journal has a review of Walter Johnson's River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard).  Mark M. Smith writes, "Observers today speak breathlessly about the global economy and the flatness of the world's financial system as if those were recent trends.  Such observations are at least a couple of a centuries too late."  Johnson shows that in the decades before the Civil War the Mississippi Valley emerged as the "credit-importing, cotton-exporting leading edge of the global economy of the nineteenth century."  Read the full review here.

Also in the WSJ this week, David Price reviews Ernest Freeberg's The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America (Penguin).  According to Price, Freeberg's "broad research adds up to a vivid social history with parallels for todays' technology innovators and for those who wish to increase their number."  The Age of Edison is also reviewed in the LA Times this week, (here).

In the Washington Post, you'll find a review of Al Gore's The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (Random House), and a review of Kishore Mahbubani's The Great Convergence: Asia, The West, and the Logic of One World (PublicAffairs).

Over at the New York Times Paul Clemens reviews Charlie LeDuff's Detroit: An American Autopsy (Penguin).  And you'll find a review of John Darwin's Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain (Bloomsbury), a review of Ty Burr's Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame (Pantheon), and a review of Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Riverhead).