This is the first volume in the new series The Nature of Industrialization . It provides a critical review of controversy over the established interpretations of industrialization processes in Britain and Europe before 1950. This book starts off with a general critical discussion of conventional images of the industrial revolution in Britain and the relations between industrialization in England and in Europe during this period. Following essays offer more detailed analysis of five specific themes: how industrialization was financed; transport; agriculture; population; and the transformation of work under European industrialization, there is also some comparative discussion of Europe's relations with the rest of the world. This book provides an introduction to recent groundbreaking work on the nature and causes of industrialization. It is also an introduction to the series as a whole; many of the issues raised here in the context of the first industrial revolution will be taken up on a thematic and comparative basis in subsequent volumes.