In a beautifully written history, the award-winning UCLA historian gives us an insightful account of the development of capitalism, from its first stirrings in seventeenth-century England to the present worldwide phenomenon. Appleby's overall strategy is to focus on the turning points and the critical factors. She succeeds in restoring the unexpected to this story, showing that what may seem to us inevitable was in fact contingent and surprising. She peoples her story with a fresh cast of characters, including not only the doers but the thinkers - those who first grasped and articulated the new social arrangements taking shape around them. Within her narrative Appleby addresses some important questions: did capitalism originate in the trade of the early-modern world or in some other way? Why the West - why did this set of practices and beliefs get its start there? What about religious belief - what role did that play in the early grwoth of capitalism? Are the business cycles we see all too clearly a necessary component of this dynamic system? Overall a beautifully written introduction to the history of this global phenomenon.