Ooo... How timely. I just finished reading "Sweetness and Power" by Sidney Mintz. If you're interested in a good book on the evolution of international trade from the 1200s-1800s, this a great book. It uses the discovery, production, and consumption of sugar to track the evolution of international trade, colonialism, slavery, changes in mechanical production, and finally free-labor. Fascinating book, with a very easy to read format, yet still scholarly. And for someone who worked and studied international trade for the past 20 years, "Sweetness and Power" still had plenty to teach me about economic history.