Book Talk: A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Futu

Book Talk: A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things by Raj Patel & Jason W. Moore_The BookWalker

The BookWalker's Top Pick titles includes works of bestselling authors and emerging writers. Titles were selected and voted by our staff. Please note: the selection process is heavily biased but fairly influenced by personal preference and the editor's opinions.

“An informed, sometimes acute, polemic against capitalism's half-millennium of colonial exploitation."


"An intriguing approach to analyzing today’s planetary emergencies. . . . Nicely blends ecological research with broad stroke history to demonstrate how humans have invented strategies to make the world safe for capitalism.” ―Library Journal

This is the story

Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth.

In A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analyzing today’s planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding—and reclaiming—the planet in the turbulent twenty-first century.

Reviews and What Readers Say

“Highly recommended. A wide and illuminating history with which to better understand the origins and evolution of capitalism. In expertly identifying its appetites and assessing its damage, the authors are able to show how capitalism has always depended on the undervaluation of what is most valuable, what effects this cheapening has had, and why this fundamental dependency can no longer be depended on.

Raj Patel has always been particularly adept at shedding light on the nature and workings of capitalism. He is able to do so partly because he doesn't dwell on laying blame or pointing fingers, but doggedly endeavors to show us how capitalism is only a relatively recent political construct, created and perpetuated by a specific class of people for certain self-interested ends, and we should not be surprised that it is unjust (and in these times, plain dangerous). We should also not expect it to govern our global civilization for the duration. Capitalism is coming to a close. This book gives us a broad, connected-dots view of its history and modus operandi, so we have a better sense of what we need to disentangle ourselves from.” ―Garrett J. Casey, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase

“5/5 stars - Not only is [Yolen’s] writing style engaging and captivating, but the stories themselves are magical and fantastic to read . . . I loved every moment of this book and I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.”

―Helen Rumbelow, The Times

“Jane Yolen facets her glittering stories with the craft of a master jeweler. Everything she writes, including The Emerald Circus, is original and timeless, deliciously creepy and disturbingly lovely.”

―Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity

“A master storyteller’s riff on various well-known tales including The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and of course the Arthurian legend . . . [A] literary extravaganza.”

―Emerald City Book Review

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Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century. She is the author of over three hundred and fifty books, including children’s fiction, poetry, short stories, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Her publications include Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Starship and Sister Light, Sister Dark. Among her many honors are the Caldecott and Christopher Medals, multiple Nebula World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Golden Kite, and Jewish Book awards; the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Science Fiction Poetry Grand Master Award. Yolen is also a teacher of writing and a book reviewer. She lives in Western Massachusetts and St. Andrew, Scotland. Holly Black (Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Doll Bones) is the bestselling author of adult, young adult, children’s books. Black has co-written the Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony Di Terlizzi), the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and she has recently begun work on the graphic novels series, Lucifer. She is the recipient of the Newbery Medal, and the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards. Black lives in New England.

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