The cost of it would have been a small fortune to me at the time, but all the same it was something that I only raided rather than read for writing essays. Which misses the point, because although you can dip in and out of the text the discussion develops slowly and rolls out like the tide. All three volumes are richly illustrated. The experience of reading this volume is like standing on an elevation and looking out over a landscape while Braudel points out to you the ebb and flow of capitalism across it. There are Capitalist style modes of works like the extreme division of labour of the migrant labourers who would flood the countryside south of Rome every few years to sow a crop and then harvest lands which where otherwise turned over to pasture. One way of thinking about this is colonialism.
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As leader of the post-World War II Annales school , Braudel became one of the most important historians of the 20th century. The son of a schoolteacher who later became a headmaster, Braudel acquired a cosmopolitanism unusual for his generation. While serving as a lieutenant in the French army in , Braudel was captured by the Germans. A generous mentor, he also aided numerous historians from southern and eastern Europe , South America , and Africa, further extending his influence over international scholarship.
He received more than 20 honorary foreign doctorates, gave his name to an international research centre at the State University of New York at Binghamton opened in the United States, and was admitted to the prestigious French Academy in Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.
It replaced the study of leaders with the lives of ordinary people and supplanted the hallowed trio of politics, diplomacy, and wars with inquiries into climate, demography, agriculture, commerce, technology, transportation, and communication, as well as social groups and mentalities. Annales history further challenged the reductionism of the Marxists and the structuralism of the social sciences, its main competitors at the vanguard of postwar historiography.
Far from a simple flow, human experience was registered on all three clocks, operated with speed-ups and delays, and left a vast range of physical as well as mental traces.
Incorporating geography, sociology, and economics, Braudel produced a sweeping study of the evolution of the European and world economy, encompassing an immense span of human activity and development. A nonrigid structuralist, Braudel acknowledged variations in the systems he constructed and admitted complexities that belied the most rigorous analysis.
Despite the mass of detail, his was a unified vision, and he wrote in elegant prose. Nevertheless, his reputation as a prodigious scholar and discipline builder remains secure. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
Braudel also studied a good deal of Latin and a little Greek. At the age of 7, his family moved to Paris. While teaching at the University of Algiers between and , he became fascinated by the Mediterranean Sea and wrote several papers on the Spanish presence in Algeria in the 16th century. Braudel later said that the time in Brazil was the "greatest period of his life. However, the journey was as significant as arriving at his destination; on his way, he met Lucien Febvre , who was the co-founder of the influential Annales journal. The two had booked passage on the same ship.
Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century, Vol 2: The Wheels of Commerce