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Forces of Change

An Unorthodox View of History

List Price: $16.00

October 25, 2005 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 272 Pages | ISBN 9781593760755
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“A fascinating and highly original interpretation of large areas of world history." —Wall Street Journal

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.

HENRY HOBHOUSE was born in England in 1924 and educated at Eton. A journalist for the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and CBS, he returned to farm in his native England in 1954, where he resides today.


“A fascinating and highly original interpretation of large areas of world history….Among Mr. Hobhouse’s merits are objectivity and the great energy with which he has sought out and distilled a vast range of often obscure primary sources.” —Wall Street Journal

“[Hobhouse’s] real achievement is to have put together a mass of things we half-knew already in such a way as to throw the history of the past 500 years into an entirely new perspective.” —Sunday Telegraph

“A deeply researched and absorbing book which is bound, at least to some degree, to change our traditional view of human history.” —Daily Telegraph

“Students of the world ecosystem, as well as those of comparative world history during the last 500 years, will find this cleverly written survey informative and provocative.” —Library Journal

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