Mantoux, Paul (1877–1956)
Paul Mantoux published La Révolution industrielle au XVIIIe siècle in 1906. Since the first translation into English in 1927, the book has gone through not less than sixteen English impressions, the most recent in 1983. In his introduction to the 1961 edition, T.S. Ashton attributed the longevity of Mantoux’ book to the author’s clarity of thought and expression, his openness to amendment by new evidence, and his scrupulous objectivity. Mantoux’ contribution to English economic history can be compared to that of his compatriot, Elie Halévy, to English political and social history. Both historians intended their synthetic accounts for a French audience, but they were even more valuable to English readers because of their freshness of approach and their liberation from national preoccupations and prejudices. Given the prodigious historical literature on the English Industrial Revolution, the continued serviceability of Mantoux’ book is extraordinary. Even today, eighty years after the first French edition, Ashton’s high praise remains pertinent: ‘… by far the best introduction to the subject in any language … a permanent work of reference’ (Introduction to the 1961 edition, p. 27).