The Times has declared Frank Trentmann's Empire of Things one of its books of the year - "At last, a genuinely enjoyable book about our addiction to things". It's not the only paper to include the insightful work of non-fiction on its list. Cambridge psychology tutor, Terri Apter wrote in the TLS that the book "challenges the popular notion of a twentieth-century "affluent society" and offers, instead, an illuminating account of how our vexing and complex attachment to things has arisen across the past five centuries from an interplay of market forces, politics, war, identity and emotion".
The Sunday Times book of the year list lauded Empire of Things as "sweeping, insightful and often surprising, this history of consumerism since the Elizabethans is itself a vast treasure chest of consumer pleasures, from coffee and chocolate to stuffed crocodiles. Fear of consumerism, Trentmann shows, is as old as consumerism itself: the Catholic Church inveighed against "luxury", while by 1770 one Scottish writer was complaining that his countrymen had become "slaves to their own wants". Yet Trentmann's bustling, overflowing book is a refreshing antidote to snobbish doom-mongering, showing how credit cards and washing machines have liberated rather than enslaved us."
If you'd like to gain some perspective ahead of the season of 'things', you can get hold of the book here.