This collection of essays by Alexander Gerschenkron, who has been called "the doyen of economic history in the United States," is a companion volume to the author's highly acclaimed Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective. The essays range over a wide variety of subjects, but the major theme, as in Gerschenkron's previous book, is the conditions of industrial development, particularly in regard to nineteenth-century Europe.
The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, Methodology, the essays are: "On the Concept of Continuity in History," "Some Methodological Problems in Economic History," and "Reflections on Ideology as a Methodological and Historical Problem." Part II, Problems in Economic History, deals with "The Typology of Industrial Development as a Tool of Analysis," "The Industrial Development of Italy: A Debate with Rosario Romeo," "The Modernization of Entrepreneurship," "Russia: Agrarian Policies and Industrialization, 1861-1914," and "City Economies Then and Now." In Part III, The Political Framework, the essays are: "Reflections on the Economic Aspects of Revolution," "The Changeability of a Dictatorship," and "The Stability of Dictatorships." A series of appendices presents reviews and review articles by Gerschenkron.
The late Alexander Gerschenkron held a degree of Doctor Rerum Politicarum from the University of Vienna. He was Chief of the Foreign Areas Section at the Federal Reserve Board, as well as Walter S. Barker Professor of Economics and Director of the Economic History Workshop, Harvard University.