The best of times
by David De La Torre
In The best of times, The Economist reviews The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815–1914 by Richard Evans.
In “The Pursuit of Power”, an impressive and richly documented new book, Richard Evans of Cambridge University says that most contemporaries were convinced this was a time of “open-ended improvement”. Breakneck industrialisation turned rural economies into metropolitan ones. Superior medicines and public sanitation, along with state vaccination programmes, cut the impact of epidemics like smallpox and typhus. Wars were relatively small and short-lived (the death rate of men in battle was seven times less than in the previous century). And steam power and electrical engineering freed societies from the limitations of human strength. [more]