Get a free audiobook

An Economic History of the World since 1400

Narrated by: Donald J. Harreld
Length: 24 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Most of us have a limited understanding of the powerful role economics has played in shaping human civilization. This makes economic history - the study of how civilizations structured their environments to provide food, shelter, and material goods - a vital lens through which to think about how we arrived at our present, globalized moment.

Designed to fill a long-empty gap in how we think about modern history, these 48 lectures are a comprehensive journey through more than 600 years of economic history, from the medieval world to the 21st century. Aimed at the layperson with only a cursory understanding of the field, An Economic History of the World since 1400 reveals how economics has influenced (and been influenced by) historical events and trends, including the Black Death, the Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, the European colonization of Africa, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the birth of personal computing. Professor Harreld has crafted a riveting, centuries-long story of power, glory, and ideology that reveals how, in step with history, economic ideas emerged, evolved, and thrived or died.

Along the way, you'll strengthen your understanding of a range of economic concepts, philosophies, trends, treaties, and organizations, including the mercantile system, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Marxist economics, African independence movements, and the formation of economic organizations including the European Union. You'll also consider provocative questions about the intersection of history and economics. What did the economies of Roosevelt's America and Hitler's Germany have in common? What does history tell us about how nations should dictate economic policy? Can we say that free trade is truly free?

Marvel at just how much we still have to learn about the economic forces that have dictated our past - and that will dictate our future.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Everything I hoped for

I have been looking for a concise summary of economic/financial history for some time. This did a terrific job of giving just enough time and attention on each of the major economic developments of the past several centuries, while still maintaining a brisk enough pace to tackle over a month's worth of commuting to work. As many of the reviews mentioned, the editing (or lack thereof) leaves much to be desired. However, the content was so rich it was forgivable. Overall, a solid purchase.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A lot of very interesting information

I am amazed by the amount of pertinent information and how it was organized, I personally like the most the last five chapters and the last one is a very good summary the provides very good insight. It is really a very good course an worth listening to it. Highly recommended

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tristan
  • 2016-11-10

Slightly incoherent

I wish prof. Harreld would drop the written lecture and just talk about the subject he loves.

As it is, by apparently reading verbatim, he somehow has the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, his delivery sounds stilted and he garbles the meaning of sentences in an effort to sound natural. He refers to "extraordinary taxes," like they were HUGE, but in the next sentence it becomes clear he had meant the word in the legalistic sense of "extra-ordinary," as in ad-hoc. The listener is repeatedly thrown off-course and has to catch back up.

On the other hand, writing the lecture out hasn't contributed structure or coherence. He jumps back and fourth between times and subjects, introduces big thoughts only to abandon them, fails to wrap up themes or tie events back to his central ideas.

In short, I couldn't finish it. I got to the opening of global shipping lanes and jumped ship.

53 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rick
  • 2016-10-27

Good content, tough to listen

If you're going to invest this kind of time into a subject you are obviously interested in it or at the very least, you are curious about it. In that regard, the audio book is interesting and educational. The narrator is tough to listen to. so many mistakes and miscues. How can The Great Courses not edit their audio books? Very disappointing as it took away from the content.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2017-06-16

Economics fueled by Innovation & Invention

Any additional comments?

An enlightening, informative and enjoyable listen for anyone interested in what makes the world go around - or at least a big cog in the machine that makes it turn. Presented in a clear and concise format that is chronological and easy to follow. The narration by Prof. Herrald fits the topic well.

He begins with a bit of pre-history that leads up to 1400 so we understand the mind set of people at the time vis a vis money, trade & power. Then Prof. Herrald leads us on a journey that marks the major innovations that disrupted, transplanted or changed the major centers of trade & finance around the world. He identifies the reasons why some failed (mostly for lack of ability to adapt to new technologies) while others thrived and grew.

Worth noting is that it is not so much a history of economics as a history of how innovation & technology have driven change in human prosperity over the last 2000+ years. I would have loved more on how wealth (and desire for it) influenced actions. That is likely an entire course on its own.

This is one of the better TGCs I've had the opportunity to listen in on. If you are interested in the history of economics or technology this is a good primer.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • buddy
  • 2016-12-10

Should be a required history class

The material in this book is outstanding. it provides a great framework for world history from the 1400s. As such it should be a first history book to read. As the title says this is a great course. It is not dramatic. But I couldn't stop listening to it because of the depth of the subject material.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mike
  • 2016-11-11

History for Economists, not vice-versa

Any additional comments?

This is very much a history lesson for economists, not economics for history buffs. If you are expecting the former you'd probably rate this higher. Not a bad course by any means, but in a milieu (The Great Courses) already bursting with amazing history courses, this book doesn't really stand out.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • .
  • 2017-06-02

It took me a LONG TIME to finish

It's a very general overview of history to illustrate some major economic terms and concepts as well as discuss how important economies of history were developed and maintained. It definitely overlaps with other history books I've read like The Silk Roads and that's a good thing. It just covers a broad time frame from colonialism to the computer age chapter by chapter. Interesting, but you may want to give up halfway through.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CollegeKidReviews
  • 2016-11-28

Studying computer science

As a computer science student I want to know more about the decisions that brought our economic system to its current state. This book is a great early step.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Earth Lover
  • 2016-09-19

Wish I'd Taken This Class As an Undergrad!

Any additional comments?

Excellent introductory survey. The half-hour lecture format limits in-depth discussions, but the author packs a lot into each session. Some coverage of non-Euro cultures such as China and Japan as well as the expected chapters on the textile industry, Industrial Revolution, Finance Capitalism, etc.
This is an inspiring undergrad-level course I wish had been offered when i was in school.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cliente de Kindle
  • 2016-10-27

Magnificent

This is an extraordinary history of the World. It is much more than an Economic History. It has Political, Social and Racial insights.

One of the best books. I'm listening to it again!!!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • P. Smith
  • 2017-01-12

Great Courses...NOT!

What would have made An Economic History of the World since 1400 better?

Actually discussing some economics. This author seems not to have any desire to discuss anything but preaching the dogma of Keynesian theory

What do you think your next listen will be?

No idea, but non fiction

What three words best describe Professor Donald J. Harreld’s performance?

Biased, boring, simplistic

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, disappointment

Any additional comments?

So much lacking. So much misinformation. Example: he righty states that the British starved the Indian subcontinent for their cash crops, but when they did the same to the Irish, he blames the Irish, not mentioning that there was plenty of food to feed the Irish but it was shipped back to England to make whiskey and rye. nor that the British. we're determined to depopulate Ireland. he seems never to have heard of many of The economists of the 19th and twentieth century, Schopenhauer, Von Mises, Von Hayek, Rothbard, etc. These economists don't fit his world view that governments should control all things economic. he lauds the Soviet Union for its " progressive" economics, failing to mention the millions deliberately starved to death by these policies.
I have been listening to great courses for at least 30 years, since the days of cassette tapes. Never before have I been completely disappointed. this is NOT a great course. This's is not even a mediocre course. this is economic brainwashing 101

43 of 56 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Vincent Hache
  • 2018-12-17

Great course

Very interesting book on the economy. I thought there would be more on the war-time economies, most notably during WW1.