28 January 2016, The Tablet

Good stuff

by Jonathan Wright

Empire of Things: how we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the twenty-firstFRANK TRENTMANN (ALLEN LANE, 880 PP, £30)Tablet bookshop price £27 • Tel 01420 592974 “People always had things,” writes Frank Trentmann, “and used them not only to survive but for ritual, display and fun.” What’s apparently fairly new – dating back 600 years or so – is our addiction to accumulating goods with such gusto. “The possessions in a pre-modern village or an indigenous tribe pale when placed next to the growing mountain of things in advanced societies like ours.” Trentmann sets himself the daunting task of explaining how this all came about but, thank goodness, his book is not another of those over-egged &ldqu
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