Big Business and Industrial Conflict in Nineteenth-Century France (Hardcover)

A Social History of the Parisian Gas Company

By Lenard R. Berlanstein

University of California Press, 9780520072343, 352pp.

Publication Date: July 23, 1991

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Founded in 1855, the Parisian Gas Company (PGC) quickly developed into one of France's greatest industrial enterprises, an exemplar of the new industrial capitalism that was beginning to transform the French economy. The PGC supplied at least half the coal gas consumed in France through the 1870s and became the city's single largest employer of clerical and factory labor. Representing a new form and scale of capitalistic endeavor, the firm's history illuminates the social tensions that accompanied the nation's industrialization and democratization.

To study the company over its fifty-year life is to see industrializing France writ small. Using previously untapped company archives, Lenard R. Berlanstein has written a rich and detailed study that skillfully bridges the divide between business, social, and labor history.

About the Author

Lenard R. Berlanstein is Professor of History at the University of Virginia, and the author of The Barristers of Toulouse in the Eighteenth Century (1975) and The Working People of Paris, 1871-1914 (1984), both from Johns Hopkins.