In This Review

Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization

Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization
By Nayan Chanda
416 pp, Yale University Press, 2007
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In this richly engaging history of globalization, Chanda depicts today's growing global interconnectedness as part of a larger drama that has unfolded over thousands of years, propelled by human impulses to explore, prosper, and dominate. The book's narrative revolves around the stories of individuals and groups on the move across continents and eras. Chanda posits that these agents of globalization -- whether using camel caravans, sailing ships, or the Internet -- have tended to come in four types: traders seeking profits, preachers seized by religious fervor, adventurers in search of knowledge or fortune, and warriors bent on aggrandizing power and building empires. In projecting globalizing processes backward into the distant past, the book shifts the historical center of gravity away from the familiar story of the rise and domination of the West. Asia and the Middle East are epicenters; the Silk Road was a superhighway of early globalization, and Islam and Buddhism were as mobile as Christianity. Chanda argues that the microchip is responsible for the recent acceleration in globalization. He does not offer a master argument about where globalization is going, but he nevertheless makes clear that humans have a deeply rooted tendency toward societal interconnectedness.