There are few books that have the insight and power to change the way we think. Forces of Change is one. In this updated edition, Henry Hobhouse argues provocatively, and most convincingly, that modern history has been shaped less by the actions of human beings than by three natural forces: population growth, food supply, and disease. Together they form a self-balancing triangle: any change in the dimension of one side, Hobhouse shows, is and must be matched by changes in one or both of the other sides. Using key examples from the history of the past five hundred years, the author opens our eyes to new possibilities, so that history as learned from our textbooks takes on a whole new light.
As original as it is ambitious, Forces of Change examines history from the time of the Black Plague to the present day, observing in each period and historical situation the relative roles of the three sides of the triangle. The result is a work that is revealing, eloquent, and—despite the seriousness of the subject—always witty and eminently readable.