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A Splendid Exchange Audiobook

A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

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Publisher's Summary

Adam Smith wrote that man has an intrinsic "propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another". But how did trade evolve to the point where we don't think twice about biting into an apple from the other side of the world?

In A Splendid Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the extraordinary story of global commerce from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it today. He transports listeners from ancient sailing ships that brought the silk trade from China to Rome in the second century to the rise and fall of the Portuguese monopoly in spices in the 16th; from the rush for sugar that brought the British to Jamaica in 1655 to the American trade battles of the early 20th century; from key innovations such as steam, steel, and refrigeration to the modern era of televisions from Taiwan, lettuce from Mexico, and T-shirts from China.

Along the way, Bernstein examines how our age-old dependency on trade has contributed to our planet's agricultural bounty, stimulated intellectual progress, and made us both prosperous and vulnerable. Although the impulse to trade often takes a backseat to xenophobia and war, Bernstein concludes that trade is ultimately a force for good among nations, and he argues that societies are far more successful and stable when they are involved in vigorous trade with their neighbors.

Lively, authoritative, and astonishing in scope, A Splendid Exchange is a riveting narrative that views trade and globalization not in political terms, but rather as an evolutionary process as old as war and religion - a historical constant - that will continue to foster the growth of intellectual capital, shrink the world, and propel the trajectory of the human species.

©2008 William J. Bernstein; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"The book is not just essential reading; it is fun all the way." (Peter L. Bernstein, author of Against the Gods)
"Bernstein has given us a master's insights into the past to help us understand an issue of deep divisions in the present age." (Sara Bongiorni, author of A Year without 'Made in China')

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (211 )
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3.9 (94 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carroll Hilo, HI, United States 09-17-11
    Carroll Hilo, HI, United States 09-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best book I "heard" this year!"

    A very well researched study that highlights the simple history we are taught with the multiple "why's" that commerce & trade were the forces behind.... no history of inter-actions would be written unless the humans had wanted to, and created the means to make trades..... ie. commerce... truly engaging & entertaining!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Mask 01-25-15
    John Mask 01-25-15

    LaxShopper

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    "Eye opening book with a horrible narrator"

    This book will change your perspective on many historical issues. Amazing. Unfortunately the narrator is uninteresting and frequently mispronounces words or misreads them entirely. I will avoid this narrator entirely in the future but will immediately look for another book by William Bernstein.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarasuds 10-04-14
    Sarasuds 10-04-14

    SS

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    "Droning performance, needs an abridged version"
    Would you recommend A Splendid Exchange to your friends? Why or why not?

    no. This book is exceedingly well researched, and it seems the author needed to include all the arcane information found in order to prove that fact. There's actually an interesting thread here about trade, influence, political power shift, etc. you just have to find it under a completely drab reading of interminable ships manifests.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mel Foster’s performances?

    at gunpoint only


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lemonia 10-21-13
    Lemonia 10-21-13 Member Since 2016

    50 year old woman, financial executive, interested in science, human behaviour and history in laymen terms & always enjoy good fiction.

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    "Very interesting information but....."
    Any additional comments?

    ..... not given in the most compelling manner. The authurs could have spiced it up a little bit and the narraction could have been of higher dramatic quality, but overall I recommend this audiobook to the layman interested in world history and to those who believe that wars are fought for anything except money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juho Helsinki, Finland 09-03-13
    Juho Helsinki, Finland 09-03-13
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    "Good content, horrible narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'd recommend the written book to anyone interested in history -- some fascinating detail in there. The final chapters veer from history to modern trade policy, and were less compelling to me.

    I would not recommend the audiobook to anyone.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mel Foster’s performances?

    No. The dull monotone, the odd cadence and substandard pronunciation make listening to the narration a grating experience.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gaudenz Zurich, Switzerland 08-30-13
    Gaudenz Zurich, Switzerland 08-30-13
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    "Computer voice-read ebook?"

    This totally sounds like the audiobook is read by a computer!
    Not sure if I oversaw something in the small print, but I could not listen to this monotone, cold voice longer than 2 minutes.
    I have listened to many audiobooks but this book it seems I have to read myself.
    (Btw: Don't mind my rating, it obviously does not refer to the content)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Fairbanks, AK, United States 06-07-09
    Susan Fairbanks, AK, United States 06-07-09
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    "Interesting book, B-O-R-I-N-G narrator"

    I have another book narrated by Mel Foster and I will be SURE to avoid him from now on. Get this only if you prefer someone who speaks deep in his throat (I expect him to choke any moment) and uses a slow, absolute monotone that makes him sound like he's about to pass out. The listener will pass out also.
    Some narrators could read a phone book and make it sound interesting. Foster is just the opposite: he can read a thriller and make it SOUND like a phone book!
    Publishers are terrified to use female narrators. Maybe they should try someone new because this deep throat monotone does NOT work.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Athen, AL, USA 08-14-08
    David Athen, AL, USA 08-14-08
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    "Not so good for audible book"

    A nice book, but demands a lot of the listener. You´ll almost need a map in front of you

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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