Books

Empire of Things

Frank Trentmann

'Magnificent ... groundbreaking ... a triumph' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads
'A masterpiece, a delight to read ... a rare and beautiful thing' Gerard DeGroot, The Times

What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British empire to the present. Astonishingly wide-ranging and richly detailed, Empire of Things explores how we have come to live with so much more, how this changed the course of history, and the global challenges we face as a result.

'I read Empire Of Things with unflagging fascination ... elegant, adventurous and colourful ... gleefully provocative' John Preston, Daily Mail

'Such a pleasure to read ... From Victorian department stores to modernist kitchens, his book revels in the things that most historians tend to overlook' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Biography

Frank Trentmann is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, and directed the £5 million Cultures of Consumption research programme. His last book, Free Trade Nation, won the Whitfield Prize for outstanding historical scholarship and achievement from the Royal Historical Society. He was educated at Hamburg University, the LSE and at Harvard, where he received his PhD. In 2014 he was Moore Distinguished Fellow at Caltech.