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> Has anyone read a good book on why the Industrial Revolution did happen?

It will not answer your question 100% (imho there's no definitive answer for this question), but I pretty much enjoyed Carlo Cipolla's "Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000-1700" (https://www.amazon.com/Before-Industrial-Revolution-European...) where he presents Europe's pre-industrial age economy. By comparing it with what followed after ~1780 you can make yourself a pretty good idea about what might have caused the industrial revolution, or, to put it in better terms, what were the differences between England and the rest of the countries in continental Europe.

As I remember it Italy might have had a good chance of achieving it in the 1500s-early 1600s if it weren't for the disastrous Italian Wars (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Wars) and then the equally disastrous epidemics that had a huge adverse effect on Northern Italian cities in the first half of the 17th century. For example the 1630-1631 plague epidemics reduced Venice's population by 33% (46,000 deaths out of a total population of 140,000), Milan's by 47% (60,000 deaths out of a total of 130,000), Verona's by 61% (33,000 deaths out of a total of 54,000) and Cremona's by 38% (17,000 out of a total of 37,000). The nascent Northern Italian textile industry basically just collapsed after this, which freed the way for England's textile proto-industry to dominate.




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