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The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europeby Michael Pye
Synopses & Reviews
Saints and spies, pirates and philosophers, artists and intellectuals: they all criss-crossed the grey North Sea in the so-called "dark ages," the years between the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of Europe's mastery over the oceans. Now the critically acclaimed Michael Pye reveals the cultural transformation sparked by those men and women: the ideas, technology, science, law, and moral codes that helped create our modern world.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An epic adventure ranging from the terror of the Vikings to the golden age of cities: Michael Pye tells the amazing story of how modernity emerged on the shores of the North Sea.
About the Author
Michael Pye is the author of The Drowning Room and The Pieces from Berlin, which were both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He won various prizes in Modern History at Oxford before working as a journalist, columnist, and broadcaster in London and New York. He now divides his time between London and rural Portugal.
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History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Medieval