Quigley, Carroll. The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1979. 428 pp.
Quigley was among the first modern historian to argue that early civilizations’ openness to innovation in intellectual, religious, military, social, economic, and political life, combined with encounters with other cultures, was the primary source for creative development often in unexpected ways. As these institutions became more closed and rigid, decline set in. Advance always required openness to the unexpected.
Diamond, Jared . Guns, Germs and Steel, New York: W. W. Norton, 1997. 457 pp.
An ecological history of human development focusing on the prerequisites for the rise of civilization and its interaction with the natural world. Feedback systems connected with domestication, agriculture, and disease were crucial factors in the rise of urbanized human cultures. The environmental conditions on the various continents, including whether they tend to extend east to west or north to south, turn out to have vital implications for how and when human societies developed beyond hunting and gathering. A fascinating example of “pattern predictions” as discussed by Hayek, Keller, and Kellert.
Rosenberg, Nathan and L. E. Birdzell, jr. How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World, New York: Basic Books, 1986. 335 pp.
The authors cover the rise of Western prosperity from the Middle Ages to modern times. They argue that neither imperialism nor exploitation caused its rise. Rather, historically unusual interrelationships between political and economic institutions freed many of the latter from control and direction, leading to unprecedented openness to innovation. Includes discussions of the differences and tensions between “political” and “economic” organizations, which in terms of this bibliography can be describes as hierarchical vs. self-organizing. Also offers an interesting discussion of differences between market and democratic decision making (p. 310).
Titles not yet annotated:
Geary, Patrick. “Living with Conflicts in Stateless France: A Typology of Conflict Management Mechanisms, 1050-1200,” in his Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1994.
Jones, E. L. The Record of Global Economic Development, Edward Elgar, 2002. 226 pp.
Jones, E. L. The European Miracle: Environments, Economies, and Geopolitics in the History of Europe and Asia. 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. 3rd ed. Due May, 2003. 276 pp.
Jones, E. L. Agriculture and thre Industrial Revolution, John Wiley and Sons, 1975. 233 pp.
North, Douglas C. Structure and Change in Economic History, New York: W. W. Norton, 1981. 209 pp.
North, Douglas C. The Economic Growth of the United States: 1790-1860. New York: W. W. Norton, 1966. 291 pp.
Powelson, John P. The Moral Economy, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000. 296 pp. Paul Heyne has a good review on Amazon.
Powelson, John P. and Richard Stock. The Peasant Betrayed: Agriculture and Land Reform in the Third World, Oelgeschlager, Gunn and Hain, 1987.
Foreign Language sources suggested by others (not annotated)
Althoff, Gerd. Verwante, Freunde und Getreue: zum Politischen Stellenwert der Gruppenbindungen im Früheren Mittelalter. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. 1990.
Althoff, Gerd. Spielregeln der Politik im Mittelalter: Kommunikation in Frieden und Fehde. Darmstadt: Primus Verlag. 1997