The article has two parts. In the first one, it highlights the role of commodities in the real economy. It underlines also the coincidence of their price increase after 2003 and their growing importance as a research topic, particularly in the framework of Global History. In the second part, it offers a comparative analysis of two recent books on cotton, considering similarities and differences of their approaches, and the difficult relations still existing between global and economic history.
Keywords: Storia delle materie prime, Strumenti di ricerca per le materie prime, Global History, Cotone, Riello, Becket