Guardian,books of the year 2011
"Therborn's work represents what great comparative/historicalsociology is all about. Essential."
"[Therborn] compresses a vast and fascinating range ofhistorical and current world data into a detailed but intelligibleaccount of the changes in planetary human society."
"At a time when historians and economists tend to retire behindthe barricades of their increasingly specialized professions,answering the big comparative questions about the pathways into andout of modernity, the global processes of inequality and the forcesof possible change have been largely left to the sociologists. Inmy view, Göran Therborn, probably Sweden's most distinguishedsocial scientist, has made more essential contributions in thesefields than anyone else, by a combination of analytical lucidity,common sense and an extraordinary command of internationalcomparative data. For those who have read any of his earlier works,the appearance of a new book is inevitably a major intellectualevent."
"Göran Therborn has written another of his incredibleempirical surveys, this time of the whole world today, in itshistorical context. He calls it a beginner's guide. Every readerwill emerge better equipped to understand the realities of ourworld, and hopefully to act intelligently in the light of theserealities."
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
"We are in an unprecedented world, spanned by a joined-upeconomy and a global moral community. Professor Therborn - apractical, craftsmanlike sociologist, who works on a human scale -is an ideal guide to our unfamiliar present and future, who,without condescension, makes sense of complexity and turnsbafflement into clarity."
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, University of Notre Dame