Franqois Crouzet has devoted much of his life to the study of European industrialisation, and in Britain ascendant he draws together a series of essays, written in the course of his career and now thoroughly revised, examining the rise of Britain to the position of dominance in the world economy of the nineteenth century, and the concomitant decline of France. This theme is explored from several angles, and the crucial question of 'why was Britain first?' discussed extensively. Special attention is paid to the problems of capital formation, foreign trade and the consequences of empire, but the political and military vicissitudes of the 'second One Hundred Years War' (1689-1815) and their economic implications are not neglected. In the concluding chapters of Britain ascendant Professor Crouzet examines some more contemporary aspects of Anglo-French economic relations. Throughout the book conventional wisdom is attacked and new views proposed of central issues like the linkages between the Napoleonic Wars and the Industrial Revolution.
The approach is systematically comparative, and draws on Professor Crouzet's unparalleled knowledge of the economic structure and organisation of both Britain and France at the onset of industrialisation.
"The standard of the papers included in this volume is extremely high. The value of his work lies most of all in its explicit and sensitive use of international comparisons, which has done much over the years to illuminate discussions of British industrialization. The book should be widely used..." The Times Literay Supplement "Crouzet was almost unique among French historians of the 1960s in his engagement with the complex problem of the takeoff of British industrialization. He has participated in the debate with a group of mostly British scholars who for a generation raised interesting questions about when and why nations industrialized. And, unlike most historians on both sides of the channel, he has shown a real interest in how the British and French understand and misunderstand each other. This book well expresses this historian's project and should be of value to those seeking a better understanding of it." Gary Cross, Journal of Modern History