Book Review: “The Amazing Career of a Pioneer Capitalist by Martha Howell” | The New York Review of Books

Martha Howell’s review of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger provides an excellent overview of early capitalism in Europe. If you are interested in the history of capitalism you’ll find this review enjoyable.

Bringing the past to bear on the present, Howell points out a notable fact about capitalism:

“If Fugger was not the “first capitalist,” the story of his life perfectly exemplifies sixteenth-century capitalism and suggests a fundamental truth about many more forms of capitalism, one that was so monstrously embodied by the Dutch East India Company: wealth is won and preserved with the support of a state that is, in turn, dependent on the riches accumulated by the few who excel in commerce. In some periods, at some moments of technological history, the riches are typically extracted from ever more efficient production, invariably aided by ruthless exploitation of human labor and natural resources. In others the wealth comes principally from control of supplies, manipulation of demand, and management of distribution networks. But always the merchants grow rich because state power protects them or looks away when the time is right—and does so because in a world where commerce reigns, neither the state nor a powerful merchant class can exist without the other. We have Steinmetz’s book to thank not just for telling Fugger’s story so well but also for showing us how the partnership between state and commerce worked in the earliest days of European capitalism.”

Read the review here: The Amazing Career of a Pioneer Capitalist by Martha Howell | The New York Review of Books

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Book Review: Pachacuti: World Overturned | ASU Magazine

Another great book review for Lori Eshleman’s Pachacuti. If you love history or historical fiction you’ll love this novel. “It is an engaging read solidly grounded in historical authenticity and animated by expert storytelling.”

Source: Pachacuti: World Overturned | ASU Magazine

“In epic clash with George Will over ‘Killing Reagan,’ Fox News host Bill O’Reilly renounces journalism” – The Washington Post

If you haven’t seen the contentious exchange between the two conservative titans O’Reilly and George Will, it’s a must see!

In epic clash with George Will over ‘Killing Reagan,’ Fox News host Bill O’Reilly renounces journalism – The Washington Post

Here’s a review of O’Reilly’s latest book in his “Killing” series: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/160980

Book Review: David Sehat’s “The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible” |History News Network

I have not read David Sehat’s new book, but based on his previous book (The Myth of American Religious Freedom) I am very excited to see that he has a new book out. His new book focuses on exposing the contradictory and contentious nature of the politics of the Founders, thus making them unsuitable as infallible guides to  present politics.
Ron Briley, in his comprehensive review of The Jefferson Rule, praises Sehat’s

“argument that the Founders were ‘a querulous and divided group that did not and cannot offer the guidance that we might wish’ (241),” and his conclusion “that we should ‘dispense with the talk of the Founders in order to make a straightforward case for whatever policy is under discussion. Doing so would not solve all of the problems. But it would be a first step to a better political debate’ (243).”

The Jefferson Rule