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Book review: Britain and the Birth of the Modern World by Ben Wilson

By Ian Irvine   May 2016

isbn9780297864103-detailWeidenfeld & Nicolson, £25

The world began speeding up in the 1850s and it hasn’t stopped since. Electricity and steam were the crucial technologies: railways, steam ships, telegraphs and submarine cables shrank the world in space and time. Now that information, commodities and people could move faster than ever before a genuinely global economy emerged, hungry for growth, labour and new markets. This brought about gold rushes, mass migration, the opening of the American West, the forcible inclusion and reshaping of China, India and Japan to fit a capitalist system, and disaster for…

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