Jonathan Cape has pre-empted a “ground-breaking” study of global crises by political economist Jerome Roos, one of the most talked about titles ahead of the London Book Fair.
The book, drawing comparisons to Sapiens and The Silk Roads, has been pre-empted in a host of other territories, including in the US by Knopf, while a nine-way auction is under way in Germany alongside auctions in France and Portugal.
Publishing director Michal Shavit acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander for Crisis: How 1,000 Years of Global Disorder Made The World As We Know it.
It sees Roos tell the story of “1,000 years of global order and disorder to place our current moment in historical perspective".
The synopsis explains: “Travelling back to the four periods of general crisis that have come before this one – in the Late Middle Ages, the 17th century, the Age of Revolution and the interwar period –we find that there are striking similarities with that which we find ourselves on the cusp of. Along the way we meet Chinese silk merchants, Italian explorers and the emperors of the West African gold rush, and in doing so are able to identify the common cycles of boom and bust, expansion and isolationism that have astonishing parallels with our contemporary world. In taking this view we discover that in fact the modern world has been forged by these crises – that though often traumatic to live through, those moments have always been crucial turning points, ushering in new world orders from the ashes of the old.”
Roos is a fellow in international political economy at the London School of Economics, having previously taught at the University of Cambridge. He is a regular contributor to the New Statesman, and often provides commentary for outlets including the BBC and Al Jazeera English. In 2011, he founded ROAR Magazine, a volunteer-run activist publication that has provided background and analysis on the political fallout from the global financial crisis and a wave of anti-establishment protests.
He said: “There are few things more electrifying than the knowledge that your book has found a perfect home. I really couldn't have imagined a better publisher for Crisis than Jonathan Cape, and it's a tremendous honour to be working with Michal Shavit and the fantastic team there. I am very grateful to both Michal and my agent, Chris Wellbelove, for believing in this project from the very start. It's a thrilling prospect to be bringing the book into the world together.”
Shavit added: “It’s incredibly exciting to come across such an ambitious and expansive world history. With a fresh perspective and clear-sighted brilliance, Jerome Roos helps us grapple with how we might harness our knowledge and understanding of past global crises in our efforts to understand where we are today and how we might change the cyclical course of history. This is a book that will appeal to anyone who loved Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens or Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads. Jerome has the ability to explain complex ideas and stories with great clarity and flair but rather than coming at it from the historian’s perspective, he’s looking at the world through the lens of a political economist. I do believe it will be a ground-breaking and hugely popular book.”
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