Barclays: the business of banking, 1690–1996. By Margaret Ackrill and Leslie Hannah. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp. xxi+481. ISBN 0-521-79035-2. £45.00.
The worlds of the East India Company. Edited by H. V. Bowen, Margarette Lincoln, and Nigel Rigby. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002. Pp. xvii+246. ISBN 0-85115-877-3. £45.00.
Kingship and crown finance under James VI and I, 1603–1625. By John Cramsie. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002. Pp. xi+242. ISBN 0-86193-259-5. £50.00.
Mammon's music: literature and economics in the age of Milton. By Blair Hoxby. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. Pp. xii+320. ISBN 0-300-09378-0. $45.00.
Usury, interest, and the Reformation. By Eric Kerridge. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. Pp. 206. ISBN 0-7546-0688-0. £55.00.
The rise of commercial empires: England and the Netherlands in the age of mercantilism, 1650–1770. By David Ormrod. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Pp. xvii+400. ISBN 0-521-81926-1. £55.00.
The rhetoric of credit: merchants in early modern writing. By Ceri Sullivan. London: Associated University Presses, 2002. Pp. 217. ISBN 0-8386-3926-7. £38.00.
The unshackling of the European economy from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries was achieved, ironically, by the forging of new and stronger chains of trade and credit within nations, across regions, and around the globe. The seven books under review explore that process from different disciplinary standpoints, but chiefly as it affected England, the country that would become emblematic of commercial advancement and under whose sway the modern capitalist system emerged. How England managed this feat financially and commercially, politically and culturally, amidst the shifting opportunities and perils of these centuries is answered with an often impressive sophistication and imagination that take us well beyond hackneyed analyses prompted by the Weber–Tawney thesis.