From the Publisher
“In his highly readable book … Brook offers as fascinating an account of economic history as you’re likely to encounter.” - National Post
“A fascinating approach to cultural history, providing new ways of thinking about the origins of commonplace objects.” - Entertainment Weekly
“Elegant and quietly important … Brook does more than merely sketch the beginnings of globalization and highlight the forces that brought our modern world into being; rather, he offers a timely reminder of humanity’s interdependence.” - Seattle Times
Brook (Chinese studies, Oxford Univ.; Confusions of Pleasure ) takes a distinctive look at the global economy and world trade in the 17th century in this captivating work. He uses works of art, in particular by the Dutch painter Vermeer, as windows into that specific time in Delft (Vermeer's hometown and home to a chamber of the Dutch East India Company ) and as conduits into other aspects of the emerging world. Through specific paintings such as Officer and Laughing Girl and Woman Holding a Balance , Brook takes the reader on adventures across countries, continents, and trade routes in the era's quest for beaver pelts, Chinese porcelain (i.e., china ), tobacco, and silver, and shows men and women caught up in the "whirlpool of global movement." This book will certainly make you look differently at Vermeer's paintings, as you imagine the greater context of the time period and ponder the acquisition of seemingly minor objects. An insightful read for historians and art historians alike and a fine guide into the rewards of studying material culture. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.-Susanne Markgren, SUNY at Purchase Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.