The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are

The Edge of the World How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are Michael Pye s The Edge of the World 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 b

  • Title: The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are
  • Author: Michael Pye
  • ISBN: 9780670922321
  • Page: 232
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Michael Pye s The Edge of the World 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 An utterly beguiling journey into the dark ages of the north sea A complete revelation Pye writes like a dream Magnificent Jerry Brotton, author of A HistoryMichael Pye s The Edge of the World 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 An utterly beguiling journey into the dark ages of the north sea A complete revelation Pye writes like a dream Magnificent Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve MapsThis 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.
    • Free Read [Nonfiction Book] ↠ The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are - by Michael Pye ↠
      232 Michael Pye
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      Posted by:Michael Pye
      Published :2019-07-22T09:14:13+00:00

    751 Comment

    • Rachel Wexelbaum says:

      Entertaining read for medieval and Renaissance history buffs, but too many gaps in the narrative. The book did not meet the author's mission of showing Northern European influence on modernity, nor did it give a coherent history of early Northern Europe. Also, what the heck happened to the Vikings? The first two-three chapters addressed their exploits and contributions in great detailen, in the next chapter, not a word. Scandinavia, somehow, became nations under single kings, and Norway became b [...]

    • Esther says:

      This is a rich book but nevertheless somewhat disappointing. The overarching ideas in the book, summarised in the final pages are highly relevant and very interesting, but they are hidden in a deluge of small facts, people and ideas. In one chapter fashion, money and monks are coming along. Some topics could have been left out (fashion) and others elaborated more upon (Hansen cities), I would have liked that better.

    • Frank Capria says:

      Like many others I was very disappointed with this book. Aside from failing to convincingly prove his thesis, the writing is deadly. Pye states the obvious repeatedly just as that professor of history whose course you would have dropped after the first lecture if it was not required. The gaps in the narrative leave the reader wondering if the Vikings actually did sail off the edge of the earth because they simply disappear. I cannot recommend this book to anyone.

    • Aloha says:

      Full of informationIt's an informational book, without the literary zest that makes some non-fiction absorbing. Nonetheless, the information chosen and the chronology draws my interest, and makes it above merely informational. Although I didn't want to finish it at first, it drew me in.

    • Bou says:

      Als "boek van de week" inDe Wereld Draait Door met een lovende kritiek waarbij Michael Pye zelfs wordt vergeleken met Bill Bryson en een aanbeveling door Geert Mak op de cover, mag je verwachten dat ik dit boek in een ruk zou uitlezen. Niets is minder waar.Het belang van het middeleeuwse Noordzeegebied voor de moderne wereld was enorm, stelt Michael Pye. Hij beschrijft de ontwikkelingen die zich afspeelden rond het Noordzeegebied tussen de vroege Middeleeuwen en 1700.Aan zijn bronnen ligt het ni [...]

    • Jeffrey Howard says:

      If it weren't for the subject matter I would give this book a single star. Pye begins with a promising premise and ultimately falls short of it, majorly. He attempts to tell the tale of Northern Europe where "identity became a matter of where you were and where you last came from, not some abstract notion of race; peoples were not separated sharply as they were by nineteenth-century frontiers, venturing out only to conquer or be conquered. Indeed, quite often they ventured out to change sides. I [...]

    • Lemar says:

      This is a fascinating book which offers a new and missing perspective on why things are the way they they are now. The best history books never lose sight of that connectionand Michael Pye consistently links his research to the present. The missing contribution he brings to light is the huge contribution made by the cultures of peoples who inhabited the edge of the map, the places marked on maps with fantastical drawings and warnings like 'Here Be Dragons'. The Frisians, Vikings, Angles, Irish, [...]

    • J.L. Sutton says:

      Michael Pye’s The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe grabs your attention right away, but unfortunately it lets go and leaves you to wander through interesting first-hand accounts that often don’t seem connected. Pye’s thesis, that the North Sea region deserves attention not just for its Viking history but for how its culture (trade, business practices, record-keeping etc.) transformed the rest of Europe doesn’t always hold up. Besides [...]

    • Stefaan Van ryssen says:

      Enlightening and fresh view on the development of the UK, the low countries, Scandinavia and a bit further, Greenland, Iceland, the first norse or viking settlements in nowadays Canada etc.Clear, well supported with arguments and references. Not for the academic historian but at an academic level for the lay and the interested. I liked the parts on the Vikings most. These brave people have a bad reputation, but that cannot be deserved unless one disregards their incredible contributions to trade [...]

    • Inkie says:

      Het boek begon veelbelovend, maar werd halverwege steeds minder prettig leesbaar. Veel rare sprongen, waardoor het verwarrend werd. Bij vlagen zeer interessant, bij vlagen slecht te volgen. Jammer

    • Nikhil Shah says:

      "If you think in terms of the time it takes to get to places, then Bergen in Norway is closer [to Ipswich] than York in England the coast of Jutland is closer, and better connected than an English Midlands city like Worcester It was easy for Scandinavians to be in York, Frisians in Ipswich, Saxons in London, and the fact was so unremarkable that it is hardly recorded."It is curious that UKIP's current strength lies mainly along the east coast of England. That a party whose main promise is to tur [...]

    • Mickey Hoffman says:

      I am very familiar with European history and I thought this book might focus on the Scandinavian regions more than most histories. Instead, the book covers most of Europe after the first few chapters. There was little new information here, but there are many, many, many strings of short examples that made my head spin. Most examples are only one sentence long and after encountering dozens of these, I lost interest; I felt like I was reading lists. There are some longer stories and some are inter [...]

    • Charles says:

      “The Edge Of The World” is an ambitious book. Its subtitle is “A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe,” and its core thesis is that the cultural impact of the peoples bordering the North Sea has been ignored. I think that thesis is false—such cultural impact can be seen everywhere, from the current TV series “Vikings” to New York Times articles on rotting fish cuisine of the North Sea. And the book is more a series of cultural anecdotes grouped by topi [...]

    • De Ongeletterde says:

      In dit boek schetst de historicus Michael Pye hoe rond de Noordzee in de middeleeuwen allerlei veranderingen op gang kwamen die uiteindelijk zouden leiden tot onze moderne tijden en moderne opvattingen, tot de Gouden Eeuw in Nederland en tot de opkomst van steden, kapitalisme,Het meest verrassende en meest boeiende aan dit boek is hoe de auteur erin slaagt om mijn beeld over de middeleeuwen te veranderen en vooral te nuanceren. In de lagere en middelbare school leren we deze duizendjarige period [...]

    • Dee says:

      Really enjoyed this one. It helped that the areas it was filling in my knowledge were areas I knew the edges of and was fascinated by. I mean, I have been very curious about the Hansa, about the history of the Netherlands, about what the Vikings were really getting up to. (Curious, but not really very informed, and totally clueless about wider context. Now the author may be right, and the Dark Ages weren't entirely that dark in northern Europe, but it had hitherto been a dimly lit time in my awa [...]

    • Celia Yost says:

      This was excellent and I strongly recommend to anyone with an interest in European history. Pye did the thing I'm pretty much always looking for in history books, which is to dig into a time and place and figure out how it *worked*. I appreciated that Pye made a point of mentioning when his primary sources were probably biased or being disingenuous, and also that he was explicit about the dangers of romanticizing this part of the world too much (Nazis)--it made me trust him as a historian much m [...]

    • Rachel Slocombe says:

      Really interesting and easy to read look at how our past shaped our present. The fact each chapter wasn't strictly chronological but based on a particular theme stopped it becoming boring and kept it easy to follow. Also makes it easier to return and reread particular aspects.I would have liked a better map. It was difficult to find anywhere on the one provided. The pointless plates in the middle would have been better replaced with some good maps.Overall a good introduction to the history of th [...]

    • Pieter Serrien says:

      Erg interessante geschiedenis over de landen rond de Noordzee. De vele kritieken die het boek krijgt zijn meestal terecht: de auteur springt vaak van de hak op de tak, hij verwacht van zijn lezers veel voorkennis en zijn verhaallijnen zijn vaag en worden niet altijd consequent gevolgd. Daar tegenover staan zijn originele blik op de westerse geschiedenis, zijn gebruik van gevarieerde egodocumenten en vooral zijn keuze voor het perspectief van de 'gewone' handelaars.

    • Sarah Routledge says:

      I thought this was absolutely fascinating. It didn't all interest me but that's because it covered so many different subjects, some of which I don't care about, but there was a lot in it that caught my attention and that I'd like to read up on further

    • Judith says:

      An enjoyable and informative read.If I've a quibble - I felt parts of this covered rather more than just the North Sea!

    • Deborah Ideiosepius says:

      This elegantly written, well researched and beguilingly presented book consists of a series of vignettes from history. The Author appears to have rummaged through history collecting interesting facts with which to entertain the reader. The first chapter looks at coins and describes the Frisians, a people about which I previously knew nothing. The second chapter takes you through books and incidentally the monasteries where books were written in the 600's with a presentation of the Bede and the r [...]

    • Kristin says:

      My high hopes for this book were quickly dashed. A review that I read claimed Pye had written an integrated history of the North Sea, crossing national boundaries to show how the region fit together as a unit. As an English historian who knows little of other North Sea countries, that sounded amazing. In practice, however, Pye's work leaves much to be desired. His thesis is that the banks of the North Sea were responsible for the birth of modernity, spawning a number of ideas that have become in [...]

    • Lori L (She Treads Softly) says:

      The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe by Michael Pye is a highly recommended well researched presentation of the impact North Sea travel had during the dark ages and how it lead to modern Western civilization. Pye does an exceptional job of making the historical information accessible and entertaining, as well as informative. The areas of influence covered include the invention of money, the book trade, enemies, settlers, fashion, law, explor [...]

    • Tom Johnson says:

      not an easy book - uneven, sometimes numbing, could easily be 3 stars but offered enough new to be worth the effort - the odd introduction caused me some concern but thankfully the book itself was much better - gives a different perspective to history by focusing on how thought changed - travel is key as it opens minds to that which works best or is the most exciting - travel is far and away easier on water than on land hence the importance of the North Sea - damn but the history of man is blood [...]

    • Clare O'Beara says:

      I found this an interesting read, though at times wandering afar rather than staying on the shores. Areas covered well included Viking age travel, the Hanseatic league and the transformation of the Netherlands from fen and sand dunes to towns with windmills and dykes thriving on cheese exports. More could have been made of the persecution of cod, which have shrunk in size and age to maturity, due to overfishing, but it's clear that herring were so common people could dip a net into a shoal by sh [...]

    • Lynne says:

      I really liked this book. It's a very good book. I have no idea how to review it. The author brings together so many threads, through so much history, that it's really hard to describe. It is definitely worth reading if you have any interest in history, or trade, or the North Sea, or Europe, or fashion - and a lot of other stuff. Pye consolidates documents, archaeology, and the historical record to show how northern Europe evolved into modern nation-states, and the influence of that evolution on [...]

    • Catherine says:

      This is a well written history of a different kind. It focuses on the cultural history of northern Europe - England and the Scandinavian countries for the most part but the specific nations don't matter for this book. Rather than war and politics (except when the Vikings were discussed), Michael Pye focuses instead on underlying developments in social culture. How did writing spread? What about the move from bartering to currency? Business math skills (earlier than one might think), fashion (whi [...]

    • Elentarri says:

      Disjointed and meandering. An extremely tedious read. Thematic topics are covered in each chapter, so there isn't really a chronological story. Even the thematic topics aren't covered properly. Just a whole bunch of little stories that doesn't actually tell you anything. The author doesn't really make his arguments properly and the reader is left guessing how the sometimes interesting stories relate to "How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are". A very disappointing book.Addendum: My 89 year old gra [...]

    • Matthew says:

      I read about this book in an Economist review in 2014 - and unfortunately this disjointed account of the North Sea (read: the Netherlands) did not meet my expectations or, in my view, coherently address the thesis implied in its title. This is a classic example of an author missing the forest for the trees- Pye gets bogged down by local anecdotes that for him may fit into a larger narrative, but for a reader not familiar with the historical context provides nothing but a muddled and isolated, if [...]

    • Ben Donnelly says:

      Dense with historical details and ricocheting though chronology, Pye organizes his book thematically though chapters on law, agriculture, and other broad topics. It's effective at showing the cultural exchanges that spanned Britain, Scandinavia and the Continent. He gives a sense of the middle ages lurching towards our modern world, rather than a series of discrete discoveries and political event on a timeline. But naturally, some topics can be a slog if they're not central to your own historica [...]

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