The Industrial Revolution has sometimes been regarded as a catastrophe which desecrated the English landscape and brought social oppression and appalling physical hardship to the workers. In Ashton's classic account, however, it is presented as an important and beneficial mark of progress. In spite of destructive wars and a rapid growth of population, the material living standards of most of the British people improved, and the technical innovations not only brought economic rewards but also provoked greater intellectual ingenuity. Lucidly argued and authoritative, this book places the phenomenon of the Industrial Revolution in a stimulating perspective. A new preface by Pat Hudson surveys recent research in the areas focused on by Ashton and a completely updated bibliography ensures that this book will continue to be of value to modern readers for many years to come.
“It is certainly rare . . . to find, as in Professor Ashton's work, a combination of neatly summarized research, lively humanity, stimulating generalization, bread-and-butter fact, and an unfailing sense of perspective, all embodied in prose of unmistakable, though entirely unpretentious, quality. It is a pleasure to be able to recommend a book, whether to the student or to the general reader, so entirely without reservation. . . . Few accounts of the great inventions leave the unmechanical reader with any genuine understanding of the problems and solutions involved. This one does.”–The Economist
T. S. Ashton
Thomas Southcliffe Ashton (1899–1968) was an English economic historian. He was professor of economic history at the London School of Economics at the University of London from 1944 until 1954, and Emeritus Professor until his death in 1968. His best known work is The Industrial Revolution (1760–1830) (1961), which put forth a positive view on the benefits of this era.
He donated money to provide the T. S. Ashton Prize, an annual award from the Economic History Society. The prize is currently £750 and is awarded at every other annual conference to the author of the best article accepted for publication in the Economic History Review in the previous two calendar years.