Empire of Things

How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First

by Frank Trentmann

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780141028743
  • 9780241198407

The epic history of consumption, and the goods that have transformed our lives over the past 600 years

What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present. Astonishingly wide-ranging and richly detailed, Empire of Things explores how we have come to live with so much more, how this changed the course of history, and the global challenges we face as a result.


  • Penguin Books Ltd; January 2016
  • ISBN: 9780241198407
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Empire of Things
  • Author: Frank Trentmann
  • Imprint: Penguin
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780141028743
  • 9780241198407

About The Author

Frank Trentmann is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, and directed the £5 million Cultures of Consumption research programme. His last book, Free Trade Nation, won the Whitfield Prize for outstanding historical scholarship and achievement from the Royal Historical Society. He was educated at Hamburg University, the LSE and at Harvard, where he received his PhD. In 2014 he was Moore Distinguished Fellow at Caltech.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780141028743
  • 9780241198407