Romance of Trade - H. R. Fox Bourne

This highly informative book about international commerce is written from an almost comically "whiggish" perspective, meaning that all topics related to trade are presented in their best light and great merchants of history are lionized. Topics such as medieval fairs, finance and banking, inventions, market bubbles, great trading cities, Jewish traders are celebrated rather than critiqued and the author even strives to present such outrageous abuses as monopolies and the "great factories" of the Industrial Revolution in an upbeat manner. In spite of its extreme white-wash of commercial history, it is an enjoyable read and even skeptics can learn a great deal about many little-understood topics.

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[Title Page] from The Romance of Trade by H. R. Fox Bourne


This volume aims to be a useful as well as an entertaining gossip-book about commerce. In the annals of trade are to be found incidents and episodes quite as striking and memorable as any in those fields of history which are commonly supposed to have a monopoly of romantic facts ; and these episodes and incidents, when traced back to their causes or followed out through their effects, furnish trains of circumstances that are full of romance. Some of them are here set forth in groups and series designed to illustrate certain notable phases of commercial progress. The whole history of commerce, if read aright, is as interesting as it is instructive. I have only selected pages from that history ; but I have endeavoured so to select and so to arrange as that the reader may obtain broad and comprehensive views of the great subjects handled. I trust that the work will not be less amusing than its title would lead the reader to expect, because it attempts to show that, if there is a romance, there is also a philosophy of trade.

[Contents, 1 of 2] from The Romance of Trade by H. R. Fox Bourne
[Contents, 2 of 2] from The Romance of Trade by H. R. Fox Bourne