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Home > Catalog > The Business Community of Seventeenth-Century England
The Business Community of Seventeenth-Century England


  • 9 tables
  • Page extent: 646 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.11 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 330.941/06
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: HC254.5 .G73 1995
  • LC Subject headings:
    • England--Economic conditions--17th century
    • Merchants--England--History--17th century
    • Business enterprises--England--History--17th century

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521434508 | ISBN-10: 0521434505)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$160.00 (C)

This uniquely comprehensive study explores all aspects of the English business community as it developed between 1590 and 1720. Drawing largely on material in private papers, Richard Grassby describes and explains the structure of business in a pre-industrial economy and examines the way in which social values, demographic factors, the family, state and religion distributed talent, trained and motivated businessmen and determined their life style. His book will appeal to all who wish to understand the dynamics of pre-industrial growth and the interaction between business and society.


Introduction: Questions and sources; 1. The status of business; 2. Obstacles to entry; 3. Funding and risk; 4. Necessity and choice; 5. The pattern of recruitment; 6. Skills and motivation; 7. Politics and government; 8. The measure of success; 9. Religion and ethics; 10. Family structure; 11. Consumption and leisure; 12. A symbiotic culture; Conclusion. Private enterprise in a pre-industrial economy.

Prize Winner

Choice Outstanding Academic Book 1996


"Grassby, author of important articles and a recent biography of Sir Dudley North, has produced a masterwork. He has read in astonishing breadth (from sources that require 175 pages to list) and reconstructs 17th-century life in all its detail....the book immediately becomes the standard source for specialist and student alike....[Grassby's] research on this topic may never be equaled....Essential for graduate libraries and those serving upper-division undergraduates." Choice

"...this book offers useful and often insightful discussions of the socioeconomic status of commercial and industrial enterprise, of the character and patterns of business as a career, and of the various styles of life lived by businessmen in the period. On these subjects, it is filled with valuable information and much common sense." David Harris Sacks, The Journal Economic History

"...Grassby's is an argument that all students of seventeenth-century society will have to read." James M. Rosenheim, Albion

"In this monumental book, Grassby has fashioned no less than a total history...of the business community of early modern England. ...those historians who deplore the congratulatory mode...will benefit from the enormous amount of research in which Grassby has engaged. Nevertheless, this volume constitutes the best description and analysis of an English business community yet written." Douglas R. Bisson, The Historian

"...the book is engaging and enjoyable to read and should convert anyone who still believes business is boring." Nuala Zahedieh, Jrnl of Modern History

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