Although economic, cultural and demographic changes are part and parcel of the modern world, changes in a number of areas have accelerated in the last quarter-century – a period sometimes spoken of as the global information society, a world of ‘liquid modernity’ – or of fully-fledged global neoliberalism associated with deregulation, flexible accumulation and financialisation. At a global level, some of the substantial areas where change has accelerated are, apart from the spectacular spread of new information technology, tourism, foreign direct investment, urbanisation, resource extraction through mining, energy use, species extinction, displacement, and international trade. These and other changes are, needless to say, perceived and acted upon differently in different countries and localities, and in order to understand the implications of the present acceleration of history, they have to be explored locally. This book gives a compelling perspective on the contemporary, ‘overheated’ world, presenting ethnographic material from many countries and weaving the local and particular together with large-scale global acceleration. This book was first published as a special issue of History and Anthropology.