Penguin Book

Merchant, Soldier, Sage

David Priestland

A fundamental, radical look at who really rules the world.

Future generations will see 2008 as a year when the tectonic plates shifted, one to be classed alongside 1917, 1929, 1968 and 1989. Yet the drama of that autumn has given way to a nagging sense of confusion and unease. We sense the world has changed in a rather frightening way, and we want to know how.

Merging analysis with a historical and cultural approach, this book suggests that we need to think anew about the forces that drove the last century, in order to understand what went wrong. It identifies a rather different set of forces from other recent writers on this topic: not ideologies, classes or civilisations, but cultural groups or 'castes'. There are four castes common to all ancient communities - sages, rulers, merchants and labourers.

This is the story of the third caste, the merchant, and his gradual, tortuous path to ascendancy. Only by recognising the dangers of merchant rule and limiting his excesses can we avoid a repeat of the breakdowns suffered in 1929 and so narrowly avoided in 2008.

David Priestland has studied Communism in Oxford and Moscow State Universities. He now teaches Modern History at Oxford. His previous book, The Red Flag was shortlisted for the Longman/History Today prize.

Publication date
  • History
  • Politics and Current Affairs
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
Penguin Group US (Penguin Press)
Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd (RCW)
Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd (RCW)
Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd (RCW)
Audio (Unabridged)
Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd (RCW)
Continue browsing >