The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We are.pdf
The Edge of the World by Michael Pye is an epic adventure: from the Vikings to the Enlightenment, from barbaric outpost to global centre, it tells the amazing story of northern Europe's transformation by sea. "Elegant writing and extraordinary scholarship ...miraculous". (Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of Periodic Tales). This is a story of saints and spies, of fishermen and pirates, traders and marauders - and of how their wild and daring journeys across the North Sea built the world we know. When the Roman Empire retreated, northern Europe was a barbarian outpost at the very edge of everything. A thousand years later, it was the heart of global empires and the home of science, art, enlightenment and money. We owe this transformation to the tides and storms of the North Sea. The water was dangerous, but it was far easier than struggling over land; so it was the sea that brought people together. Boats carried food and raw materials, but also new ideas and information. The seafarers raided, ruined and killed, but they also settled and coupled. With them they brought new tastes and technologies - books, clothes, manners, paintings and machines. In this dazzling historical adventure, we return to a time that is largely forgotten and watch as the modern world is born. We see the spread of money and how it paved the way for science. We see how plague terrorised even the rich and transformed daily life for the poor. We watch as the climate changed and coastlines shifted, people adapted and towns flourished. We see the arrival of the first politicians, artists, lawyers: citizens. From Viking raiders to Mongol hordes, Frisian fishermen to Hanseatic hustlers, travelling as far west as America and as far east as Byzantium, we see how the life and traffic of the seas changed everything. Drawing on an astonishing breadth of learning and packed with human stories and revelations, this is the epic drama of how we came to be who we are. "As much of a classic of travel writing as Jan Morris' Venice ...fluid, glittering prose". (Guardian on Maximum City: The Biography of New York). "Tightly crafted, meticulously researched, Pye's recreation of life in this hellish colonial outpost is gripping". (Sunday Telegraph on The Drowning Room). Michael Pye has written eleven previous books, translated into eleven languages, including two British bestsellers and two New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He took a First and various prizes in Modern History at Oxford, and was then for many years a highly successful journalist, columnist and broadcaster in London and New York. He now lives between London and rural Portugal.
Elegant writing and extraordinary scholarship ... miraculous -- Hugh Aldersey-Williams As much of a classic of travel writing as Jan Morris's Venice ... fluid, glittering prose ... remarkable Guardian (on 'Maximum City: The Biography of New York') Tightly crafted, meticulously researched Sunday Telegraph (on 'The Drowning Room') A masterly storyteller Vogue