A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World

Joshua B. Freeman (Author)

Overview | Formats

“Freeman’s rich and ambitious Behemoth depicts a world in retreat that still looms large in the national imagination.… More than an economic history, or a chronicle of architectural feats and labor movements.”—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

In an accessible and timely work of scholarship, celebrated historian Joshua B. Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares of industrialization and social change. He whisks readers from the early textile mills that powered the Industrial Revolution to the factory towns of New England to today’s behemoths making sneakers, toys, and cellphones in China and Vietnam. Behemoth offers a piercing perspective on how factories have shaped our societies and the challenges we face now.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • February 2019
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35662-5
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 448 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverBehemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World


Endorsements & Reviews

“Fascinating.… Freeman shows how factories have had an overwhelming influence on the way we work, think, move, play and fight.” — Scott W. Berg, Washington Post

“[A] lively chronicle of the factory.… [Freeman] delves into the nitty-gritty of manufacturing. He successfully melds together those nuggets with social history, on the shop floor and beyond the factory walls.” — Economist

“Remarkable.… If you want to know where the world we live in came from, this is a good place to start.” — Eric Foner

“You may have no detailed knowledge of factories except that they can be converted into cool lofts. In that case, you’ll learn much from historian Joshua Freeman.” — Jonathan Rose, Wall Street Journal

“[An] immersive, trivia-packed history.” — Henry Grabar, Slate

“An effortless and engaging guide.” — David Sessions, New Republic

“Freeman has written a superb account.… Almost every page contains a memorable fact or an intriguing thought.” — Ian Jack, Guardian

“Excellent.” — National Book Review

“Freeman uses the history of the factory as a way to re-examine how workers are treated worldwide.” — Bradley Babendir, Pacific Standard

“A global tour of three centuries, from English textile mills to Detroit steel plants to Chinese iPhone factories.” — Tom Beer, Newsday

All Subjects