This is the story of one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs in modern French history. Drawing upon a wealth of archival and private documentation. Lewis uncovers the history of Pierre-Francois Tubeuf and assesses his contribution to the development of industry in France. Lewis explores the relationship between seigneurial, proto-industrial, and modern forms of capitalism in the CA(c)vennes region of southeastern France in the eighteenth century, and demonstrates the international scope of proto-industrialization. This subtle and scholarly study seeks to unravel the complex problems associated with the impact of the French Revolution on the processes of modern French capitalism. Lewis traces the responses of a wide variety of individuals, including Tubeuf and his greatest rival, the marA(c)chal de Castries. He examines the epic struggle of these two powerful men for control of the rich coal-mines of the region, and their legacy to succeeding generations.
'Gwynne Lewis has sensitively integrated evidence from Tubeuf's hitherto neglected journals with extensive knowledge of the political economy of eighteenth-century France to form a unique judgement on the economy's prolonged transition to modern industrial capitalism. This is a book for the specialist business historian of France, yet the broad approach to historical analysis exemplified in this study could well enhance the discipline of business history in
Katrina Honeyman, University of Leeds, Business History
'The great merit of Gwynne Lewis's new study of Pierre-Francois Tubeuf is to explain the career of France's first would-be coal magnate.'
Times Literary Supplement
'a vigorous defence of a social and economic approach to analysing the French Revolution against the contemporary trend to interpret it principally in political terms ... admirable monograph'
J.K.J. Thomson, Economic History Society 1995
'Gwynne Lewis has succeeded in writing a book which, through its recognition of the 'inter-relationship which exists between economic, political, social and cultural changes', helps us to place the entrepreneur in time and place and to appreciate more fully the often overwhelming character of his (and her)problems. Economic history is too important to leave to the number crunchers!'
Roger Price, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Labour History Review, Vol. 59, No. 2, Autumn, 1994