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This is the magnificent lost history of a thousand years. It was on the shores of the North Sea where experimental science was born, where women first had the right to choose whom they married; there was the beginning of contemporary business transactions and the advent of the printed book. In The Edge of the World, Michael Pye draws on an astounding breadth of original source material to illuminate this fascinating region during a pivotal era in world history."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Pye (The Pieces from Berlin) takes readers on a far-ranging tour of Europe during the Dark Ages, looking at how civilization developed and evolved through the cultures “around the North Sea in times when water was the easiest way to travel, when the sea connected and carried peoples, belief and ideas, as well as pots and wine and coal.” His style is leisurely yet authoritative, scholarly but engaging; his approach resembles that of a docent leading a group through a vast museum, with each section devoted to a different aspect of society. Pye looks at the establishment of money and currency, the rise of books and written knowledge, the vagaries of fashion and the progress of law, and the clash of cultures and societies. It’s a series of broad topics, condensed into an entertaining—though unfocused—attempt to convey the true wealth of cultural growth during a commonly misunderstood era. In particular, he reveals how the Vikings “had adjusted reality all round the North Sea” in their travels, raids, and resettlements. This is an eye-opening reexamination of the era, and delightfully accessible. Agent: Irene Skolnick, Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. (Apr.)