Too often we think that studying a moment in history is easy and very black and white. The reality is that nothing is that simple. Events such as the American Revolution are more than just one side against another. There is rarely just one reason a war starts. There are many with various factors causing the altercation to actually be a quite complicated event. Lawrence A. Peskin explores one of those factors in his book, Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry.
If you really want to know the history of American manufacturing, this is the book to read. It goes back to the settlement of the American colonies and works its way up through the American Revolution. The book dives into the role of the colonies in the British economic system and how it all changed with the looming revolution.
Peskin divides his book into three parts starting with “The Revolutionary Era.” It is in this section that Peskin explores the role of the colonies in the British system as well as how manufacturing played a part in pushing the revolution forward. The question of American economic independence from Britain is explored and the methods to achieve it are evaluated.
Part two covers the development of the American manufacturing world including societies and political protection involving tariffs and taxes. Part three goes into the morphing of the American manufacturing world into a new concept of what it means to manufacture. What we consider manufacturing today had a totally different concept in the early days of the country. Terminologies changed as well as how the workers and owners were perceived socially and politically.
This book also comes with a detailed notes section where the avid researcher can look for more information on the topic and explore the sources Peskin uses for this work. The index was easy to use and very helpful for those within school using this book as a resource.
Academically, it is a well written and informative book. If your passion is in on early American history, this book should be considered as part of your historical library. If you are looking to read this solely for pleasure, keep in mind that it is written in a more academic style. In other words, it can be dry if you’re really not into the subject.
Peskin’s Manufacturing Revolution is very well done and brings to light a part of the American history that is rarely discussed. I learned so much from reading it causing me to look deeper into the subject. If you want to learn more of American history and go beyond the basics, check this book out.
Note: This book was part of an American history class that the author of this review had to take.